When should you stand for your beliefs? Thomas Abel (or Abell) may have thought about this as he was in the Tower of London awaiting execution for being a heretic:
I took this shot for a number of reasons. One is that I knew this week’s challenge was forsaken, certainly, the Tower of London would provide a photo that would match that idea. A second reason is that I had read about this piece of graffiti in the book The Burning Time by Virginia Rounding. I’m about halfway through reading the book, but it does make a pretty good case for keeping your religious views to yourself in England, July 1540. Abel was executed along with two other Catholics and three Protestants. Charges against Abel stemmed from his public support of Katherine of Aragon.
I used my iPhone because it was hard to get a photo in this part of the Tower. It was crowded and the light wasn’t great. I chose this angle because even the shadow seems determined to blot out Thomas Abel, which I felt tied well to the theme of forsaken. I then cropped the photo. Doing this removed the edges of the plastic cover that is over the graffiti and also a number which corresponds to some information about Mr. Abel on a nearby display. I did boost the clarity, I also warmed the tone of the picture a bit to make the shadows more pronounced.
Having visited the place where he was kept prisoner, seen his rebus, and read about him, I still am left to wonder what motivated him to make such a stand. As the book, The Burning Time points out, plenty of people did not speak about their religious beliefs, they simply moved with the times. Considering that Abel was executed with people who didn’t share his religious convictions, it’s pretty clear how dangerous it was to speak of any religious matter publicly at this time.
For me, it was interesting to be reading about this time in history when I was also able to see it on display. Do you ever line up photography and reading in this way? Do you think this photo is a good representation of forsaken? Feel free to leave a comment below.