Women of the Reformation: Anne Askew

Born into a wealthy family in Lincolnshire, the fourth of five children of William and Elizabeth Askew, Anne’s life should have been one of ease and luxury. Anne received an excellent education by tutors at home and especially relished reading and studying the Scriptures. Her older sister Martha was to be married to Thomas Kyme, a neighboring wealthy landowner, but Martha died before the marriage took place. Anne’s father, very much against Anne’s will, had fifteen-year-old Anne marry Thomas. Thomas, a Catholic, could not abide Anne’s evangelical faith and eventually brutally forced her to leave the house.

Anne went to London, where her brother Edward was in the court of Henry VIII. There she joined the group of evangelicals around Queen Catherine, who had a Bible study in the palace. Anne actively shared her faith in Christ and distributed the Bible and religious books around London. In 1545 she was arrested; Anne wrote the details of her examinations, which were later published by John Bale and in 1563 were included in John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. Her account is one of the earliest autobiographical accounts written by an English woman and reveals Anne’s familiarity with Scriptures as well as her wit and grace  ….[Continue Reading]

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