The masked prisoner had been incarcerated since approximately 1680, held in the more or less permanent custody of Bénigne d'Auvergne de Saint-Mars at Pignerol. When Saint-Mars found a new billet at the Bastille in 1698 he took the mysterious figure with him, where he took up residence alone in the Bertaudière tower. Treated well and clad in velvet, not iron, the unnamed prisoner passed his years in the Bastille in relative calm and died a peaceful death by all accounts on 19th November 1703.
The following day the masked man was laid to rest under the name, Marchioly, apparently aged somewhere in his mid-forties. His cell was stripped back to the bricks and all trace of him erased from the world, if not from history. Indeed, efforts to keep the prisoner anonymous fuelled the fire that raged around him and now, more than two hundred years after he breathed his last, we still remember the Man in the Iron mask.