Religious Martyr

Anne Askew
(14th generation Morlan)

Woodcut, The Death of Anne Askew (1563)
The Death of Anne Askew (1563)

ANNE ASKEW was born in 1521 in South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Sir William Askew and Margaret Fitzwarin.

Anne received an excellent education and from youth was devoted to the study of the Bible and to the discussion of doctrine. She was becoming a promising young writer even though she was a female.

Her sister was pledged to marry Thomas Kyme; but, before the marriage could take place, her sister died. Anne's father, Sir William Askew, then forced Anne to keep the contract and marry Thomas Kyme.

Under pressure Thomas Kyme and Anne Askew were married while Anne was quite young. They were the parents of two children.

Thomas Kyme was a strict Catholic. In England, at the time, it was against the law to be anything but a Catholic. The Catholics believed that the body and blood of Jesus was physically present in the bread and wine when partaken at the altar. Anne openly denied this. She also said she would rather read five lines in the Bible than hear fives masses (services) at the church. She, in fact, had rejected the Catholic Church.

Her husband drove her out of the house because of her beliefs. Because of her resentment of the marriage, Anne had always used her given name, Anne Askew. At least one of her sons, William, used the Askew name.

Anne went to London to get a divorce. While in London she joined with other Christians that were being persecuted. She was received with kindness by Katherine Parr, Queen of England, the 6th wife of Henry V.

In the meantime, Kyme was said to have accused Anne of heresy. She faced one enquiry after another with unshaken fortitude. She refused to subscribe to the unreformed doctrine of the Real Presence in the Sacrament

In one of her interrogations she was said to have said

'I say so, my Lord; for I have read that God made man; but that man can make God, I never yet read, nor, I suppose, ever shall read."

Finally she was a prisoner at the Tower of London. She was submitted to tremendous tortures, placed on the rack with the screws tightened by Chancellor Wriothesley and Sir Richard Rich themselves. Still she would not relent; she maintained her views. They were also trying her to implicate the Queen and other women of the court in their beliefs.

She was condemned to death as a heretic -- her body so torn by the rack she could not walk and had to be carried to Smithfield in a chair. Her body had to be supported at the stake by chain. She was burned at the stake July 16, 1546, with three other martyrs. She was only 25 years old