Abraham Mazel

The Edict of Nantes, promulgated by Henri IV in 1598 and which recognised Protestantism in the French kingdom, was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. There followed a period of very severe repression of Protestantism, marked in Languedoc and in the Cevennes in the early 18th century by the "Camisards' War". Abraham Mazel, a godly 24 year old, was not a man of war, but a repeated "divine order" convinced him he had to obey.

In 1686, the Constance Tower, like the town's other towers, became a prison for Huguenots who refused to convert to Catholicism. July 25, 1705, Abraham Mazel, a Camisard leader, managed to escape with 16 of his companions by loosening a stone from an arrow slit. From 1715, the tower became a prison exclusively for women. These women of the people, often from the Cevennes, were imprisoned for having been reported to be Huguenots. Their living conditions were very harsh, some recanted; others were released under rare acts of clemency.

Marie Durand was one of the leading figures, unwavering in her faith and in her vigour. A native of Ardeche, she was arrested when she was very young, in order to put pressure on her brother Pierre, a pastor, in the hope he would give himself up to the authorities. She remained imprisoned for 38 years and was not released until 1768. It is to her that is attributed, though without proof, the inscription of the word "register" (resist) on the coping of the round window in the upper room, a heartfelt cry for freedom fo conscience.

On Oct 14th 1710 the last Camisard-leader, Abraham Mazel, is captured at the Mas de Couteau, near Uze and executed shourtly after.