Askew, Anne

, daughter of sir William Askew, of Kelsay, in Lincolnshire, knight, was born in 1529. She received a liberal and learned education, and manifested in early life a predilection for theological studies. Her eldest sister, after having been contracted in marriage to the son of Mr. Kyme, of Lincolnshire, died before the nuptials were completed. Her father, on this event, unwilling to lose a connection which promised pecuniary advantages, compelled his second daughter Anne, notwithstanding her reluctance, to become the wife of Mr. Kyme, a marriage which probably laid the foundation of her future misfortunes. Her husband was a bigoted Roman Catholic, while she, by studying the scriptures and the opinions of the reformers, became a convert, which so disgusted him that he turned her out of doors. Conceiving herself, by this treatment, at liberty to sue for a separation, she came to London, where she was favourably received by some of the ladies of the court, and by the queen, who secretly favoured the reformed religion. But at length she was accused, by her husband and the priests, of holding heretical opinions respecting the sacrament and, in 1545, was apprehended, and repeatedly examined by Christopher Dare, the lord mayor, the bishops, chancellor, and others, to whose questions she replied in a firm, easy, and unconstrained manner, and even with some degree of wit and ridicule. She was then committed to prison for eleven days, and prohibited from any communication | with her friends. During this confinement, she employed herself in composing prayers and meditations, and in fortifying her resolution to endure the trial of her principles.

On the 23d of March, a relation, who had obtained permission to visit her, endeavoured to bail her, and his earnest application to the mayor, to the chancellor, and to Bonner, the bishop of London, was at length successful. On this occasion she was brought before the bishop, who affected concern for what she had suffered, while he endeavoured to entrap her by ensnaring questions. Mr. Britagne, her relation, and Mr. Spilman, of Gray’s inn, became her sureties. But a short time after, she was again apprehended, and summoned before the king’s council, at Greenwich, when Wriothesely the chancellor, Gardiner bishop of Winchester, and other prelates, once more ques ­tioned her on the doctrines of the church of Rome. She replied with firmness, and without prevarication, and ou finding her impracticable, her judges determined on other measures, and remanded her to Newgate, though she was at the time suffering under a severe indisposition. Having entreated, in vain, to be allowed a visit from Dr. Latimer, she addressed a letter to tke king himself, declaring “That respecting the Lord’s supper, she believed as much as had been taught by Christ himself, or as the Catholic church required.” But' still refusing her assent to the popish meaning, her letter served only to aggravate her crime. She then wrote to the chancellor, inclosing her address to the king, but with no better success. From Newgate she was conveyed to the Tower, where she was interrogated respecting her patrons at court with several ladie^of whiph she held a correspondence, but, heroically maintaining her fidelity, she refused to make any discoveries of that kind. This magnanimity, so worthy of admiration, so incensed her barbarous persecutors, that they endeavoured by the rack to extort from her what she had refused to their demands, but she sustained the torturewith unshaken fortitude and meek resignation. Wriothesely, with unmanly and infernal rage, commanded, with menaces, the lieutenant of the Tower to strain the instrument of his vengeance, and when he refused, he himself became executioner, and every limb of the innocent victim was dislocated. When recovered from a swoon into which she fell, she remained sitting two hours on the bare ground, calmly reasoning with her tormentors, who were confounded by her courage and | resolution. Pardon was afterwards offered if she would recant, but having rejected every offer of the kind, she was condemned to be burnt at the stake, which was accordingly executed, July 16, 1546. She bore this inhuman punishment with amazing courage and firmness, adhering to the last to the principles of her faith. 1


Fox’s Acts and Monuments.—Ballard’s Memoirs.