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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?814352">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Anne Askew (1521–1546)

Author of The Examinations of Anne Askew

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Anne Askew, also spelled Ayscough or Ascue, was born in 1520/1521 in Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Sir William Askew, a wealthy landowner. She is believed to have been well educated. She became a devout Protestant, studied the Bible, and talked about Protestant ideas with her brothers, who were students at Cambridge, when they came home to visit. When she was 15 years old, her father married her to Thomas Kyme, in place of her older sister who had died. The couple had two children. Kyme held to the old traditional Catholic faith, and after several years of troubled marriage, threw Anne out of their home. She moved in with one of her brothers and sought a divorce. She went to London to pursue this request, and while there became a famous and outspoken Protestant preacher. In 1545, her divorce petition was dismissed and the court ordered her returned to her husband. She refused to stay with him, and escaped, was re-arrested, and released. In 1546, she was arrested again in London on the instigation of Bishop Stephen Gardiner and tortured on the rack. She refused to name other Protestant sympathizers, and was convicted of heresy. She was burned at the stake at Smithfield, London. She left behind a first-person account of her ordeal and her beliefs, which was smuggled out of prison and published clandestinely as the Examinations of Anne Askew by John Bale, and later in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments of 1563. Among the poems attributed to her is the text of "The Ballad Which Anne Askew Made and Sang When She Was in Newgate."
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