“Register” – we read on a stone in the cell where Marie Durand and other Protestant women were kept for most of their lives.


Recently, Reformation Heritage Books received a message from a reader who was concerned this might be a mistake. “If you google the French translation for the English resist you will see that it gives: resister.  If you ask for the translation of the French word register you will see that the English dictionary will give you the word register,” the reader said.  I can understand the concern.

It’s true, the G could be a badly written S, but it’s so different from the second S that most historians agree that the writing is, in fact, “Register.” French historian Yves Krumenacker, an expert on 17th century French protestantism and spirituality, wrote the following in his dossier, Marie Durand, une héroïne protestante?: “on lui attribue, sans aucune preuve, la célèbre inscription «Register» (sic) gravée sur le mur de la margelle de la prison” (Translation: We attribute to her, without any proof, the famous inscription “Register” (sic), engraved on the edge of the prison’s wall.”

In the corresponding endnote, Krumenacker goes on to explain, “On peut hésiter, à la lecture, entre «register» (plus probable) et «resister». «Register» correspondrait à la prononciation vivaroise du mot.” (Translation: In reading, one may hesitate between register (most probable) and resister. Register corresponds to the pronunciation of the word in the region of Vivarais).

The text in our Marie Durand reads, “It might have been during one of those times that a prisoner—many think it was Marie—engraved a word in a stone ledge in the middle of the common room: Register, which means “to resist” in the language of that particular region” (page 38). In future editions, I will try to add further details for my bright and inquisitive young readers.