Askew, Anne

Askew, Anne (1521 - 1546)


Thomas Kyme, Anne's husband, expelled her from their Lincolnshire home, after Anne herself left him to preach in London, denying the doctrine of transubstantiation, which holds that the bread and wine of the Christian mass or communion are literally transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Anne held to the Protestant belief that the mass was an act of remembrance and spiritual communion with her God. Rather than keep silent about her faith, she spoke out. She was arrested in 1545, interrogated openly in London, tortured and racked by Sir Anthony Kingston, the Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley, and Richard Rich, and then -- her body covered in gunpowder -- burned at the stake on July 16, 1546, in Smithfield, just outside London Wall. She refused to recant; she especially refused to name others who shared her religious convictions. Her own description of her examinations, however, made their way to John Bale, who printed them abroad. Two years before the death of Henry VIII, Anne endured a martyrdom that many others, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, were to suffer until Elizabeth I came to the throne 22 years later, in 1558. Anne's perfect poem calmly expresses her indomitable spirit and submission to Paul's words in the New Testament, "Now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

  • The Early Modern Englishwoman: A Facsimile Library of Essential Works. Part 1: Printed Writings, 1500-1604. Vol. I: Anne Askew, ed. John N. King.General ed. Betty S. Travitsky and Patrick Cullen. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1996. BR 350 .A75A3 Robarts Library
  • Watt, Diane. “Askew , Anne (c.1521-1546).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
0, 1521
Death Date
July 16, 1546
  • Preacher

Literary Period
Literary Movement
Cause of Death
First RPO Edition