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Anne Askew

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Anne Askew

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1560 portrait by Hans Eworth 

ANNE ASKEW:   Anne Askew, an Englishwoman who became actively involved in propagating Protestant beliefs—even being rejected by her husband as a result of her zeal. As in medieval inquisitions, the questions asked to Anne are aimed at clarifying where the error arises; here, she rejects the doctrine of transubstantiation and challenges the authority of “improper” priests. Her answers are logical and coherent as she unwittingly condemns herself. Anne was tortured in the Tower of London and burned at the stake in 1546 at the age of twenty-five.

“Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives,” ed. John N. King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). Pp. 22–35.

Then Thomas Wriotheseley, lord chancellor, offered Anne Askew the king's pardon (Henry VIIIth) if she would recant; who made this answer, that she came not thither to deny her Lord and Master. And thus the good Anne Askew, being compassed in with flames of fire, as a blessed sacrifice unto God, slept in the Lord, A.D. 1546, leaving behind her a singular example of Christian constancy for all men to follow.

Anne Askew underwent two "examinations" before she was finally burned at the stake for heresy.   On 10 March 1545, the aldermen of London ordered for her to be detained under the Six Articles Act, an early doctrinal statement affirming traditional Roman Catholic teachings that were part of Henry VIIIth idea called "the Middle Way". This means Henry was never really the creator of the historical church of England.  Askew stood trial before "The Quest", which was an official heresy hearing commission. and cross examined by the Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner. He ordered that she be imprisoned for 12 days. During this time she refused to make any sort of confession. Her cousin Brittany was finally allowed to visit her after the 12 days to bail her out

On 19 June 1546, Askew was, yet again, locked away in prison. She was then subject to a two-day-long period of cross examination.  They threatened her with execution, but she still refused to confess or to name fellow Protestants.

She was then ordered to be tortured.

She refused to deny her faith, and so was then tortured on the rack. The Lieutenant of the Tower, refused to carry on torturing her, left the tower, and sought a meeting with the king at his earliest convenience to explain his position and also to seek his pardon, which the king granted. Wriothesley and Rich set to work torturing her themselves. 

Her one doctrinal great controversy I know of, was over divorce, as she married a Catholic before salvation. Perhaps she thought she was more likely to be betrayed and burnt staying married, maybe this was the reason for her teachings in those very different times, I do not think she said she could remarry, and accessing the history of this to study and confirm this is not something I can presently do.


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Anne Askew was in the BBC documentary series called "The Tudors". 

(see photos)

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Important Note: Anne Askew is one of a number of important Christian martyrs, like William Tyndale and John Frith, that prove that the Catholic myth that "The church of England" that we see today quote "began in the bed of the Protestant Henry VIIth" is a lie, as they show that Henry VIIIth was as likely to burn or kill Protestants as he was Roman Catholics. The reason is that Henry the VIIIth was in fact neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic, but instead he preached a heresy he called "The Middle Way" that was not accepted by either of the two opposing sides. He therefore did not create the Church of England, which over the years was clearly not practicing this "Middle Way" and as their stand against the marriage of Edward VIIIth proves (who abdicated over the issue) they did not practice the divorce ideas of Henry VIIIth either, who divorced his first wife. 


Her ballad:

The Ballad Which Anne Askew Made

And Sang When She Was In Newgate

- Poem by Anne Askew

Like as the armed knight
Appointed to the field,
With this world will I fight
And Faith shall be my shield.

Faith is that weapon strong
Which will not fail at need.
My foes, therefore, among
Therewith will I proceed.

As it is had in strength
And force of Christes way
It will prevail at length
Though all the devils say nay.

Faith in the fathers old
Obtained rightwisness
Which make me very bold
To fear no world's distress.

I now rejoice in heart
And Hope bid me do so
For Christ will take my part
And ease me of my woe.

Thou saist, lord, who so knock,
To them wilt thou attend.
Undo, therefore, the lock
And thy strong power send.

More enmyes now I have
Than hairs upon my head.
Let them not me deprave
But fight thou in my stead.

On thee my care I cast.
For all their cruel spight
I set not by their haste
For thou art my delight.

I am not she that list
My anchor to let fall
For every drizzling mist
My ship substancial.

Not oft use I to wright
In prose nor yet in rime,
Yet will I shew one sight
That I saw in my time.

I saw a rial throne
Where Justice should have sit
But in her stead was one
Of moody cruel wit.

Absorpt was rightwisness
As of the raging flood
Sathan in his excess
Suct up the guiltless blood.

Then thought I, Jesus lord,
When thou shalt judge us all
Hard is it to record
On these men what will fall.

Yet lord, I thee desire
For that they do to me
Let them not taste the hire
Of their iniquity. 

Her life:


Her trial & torture:

The only Woman Ever tortured in the Tower of London

Wiki Article:

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