1521 – 1546 AD
Anne Askew, daughter of Sir William Askew, of Kelsay, in Lincolnshire, England, was born in 1521. She received a very liberal education, and early manifested a predilection for theological studies. She had read and studied the Scriptures quite extensively and espoused with great earnestness the opinions of the Reformation.
Her eldest sister, who was engage to Mr. Kyme of Lincolnshire, died before the nuptials were completed. Sir William Askew, unwilling to lose a connection which promised pecuniary advantages, compelled his second daughter, Anne, to fulfill the engagement entered into by her sister. But however reluctantly she gave her hand to Mr. Kyme, to whom she bore two children, she rigidly fulfilled the duties of wife and mother.
Her husband was a strong Catholic, and turned her out of doors. She went to London to sue for separation and attracted the sympathy of the queen, Catharine Parr, and many of the court ladies.
At first a Roman Catholic, she had gradually become convinced of the falsity of transubstantiation. On coming to London she was obliged to suffer numerous indignities both at the hands of the Church and the civil authorities.
Her denial of the corporeal presence of Christ’s body in the Eucharist caused her arrest and committed to prison. When examined before the lord chancellor Wriothesley, bishop of London, and the lord-mayor of that city, she was asked, whether the priests cannot make the body of Christ? She answered, “I have read that God made man, but that man can make God I have never read.”
Yet Burnet says, that after much pains she signed a recantation acknowledging that the natural body of Christ was present in the sacrament after the consecration, whether the officiating priest were a man of holy or evil life. Her recantation did not save her. She was recommitted to Newgate, and asked to disclose who were her correspondents at court. She refused to reply, and was racked in the presence of the lord chancellor, but would disclose nothing.