ASKEW, or Ascue, ANNE (1521?-1546), English Protestant martyr, born at Stallingborough about 1521, was the second daughter of Sir William Askew (d. 1540) of South Kelsey, Lincoln, by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Wrottesley. Her elder sister, Martha, was betrothed by her parents to Thomas Kyme, a Lincolnshire justice of the peace, but she died before marriage, and Anne was induced or compelled to take her place. She is said to have had two children by Kyme, but religious differences and incompatibility of temperament soon estranged the couple. Kyme was apparently an unimaginative man of the world, while Anne took to Bible-reading with zeal, became convinced of the falsity of the doctrine of transubstantiation, and created some stir in Lincoln by her disputations. According to Bale and Foxe her husband turned her out of doors, but in the privy council register she is said to have "refused Kyme to be her husband without any honest allegation." She had as good a reason for repudiating her husband as Henry VIII. for repudiating Anne of Cleves. In any case, she came to London and made friends with Joan Bocher, who was already known for heterodoxy, and other Protestants. She was examined for heresy in March 1545 by the lord mayor, and was committed to the Counter prison. Then she was examined by Bonner, the bishop of London, who drew up a form of recantation which he entered in his register. This fact led Parsons and other Catholic historians to state that she actually recanted but she refused to sign Bonner's form without qualification. Two months later, on the 24th of May, the privy council ordered her arrest. On the 13th of June 1545, she was arraigned as a sacramentarian under the Six Articles at the Guildhall; but no witness appeared against her; she was declared not guilty by the jury and discharged after paying her fees.
The reactionary party, which, owing to the absence of Hertford and Lisle and to the presence of Gardiner, gained the upper hand in the council in the summer of 1546, were not satisfied with this repulse; they probably aimed at the leaders of the reforming party, such as Hertford and possibly Queen Catherine Parr, who were suspected of favouring Anne, and on the 18th of June 1546 Anne was again arraigned before a commission including the lord mayor, the duke of Norfolk, St John, Bonner and Heath. No jury was empanelled and no witnesses were called; she was condemned, simply on her confession, to be burnt. On the same day she was called before the privy council with her husband. Kyme was sent home into Lincolnshire, but Anne was committed to Newgate, "for that she was very obstinate and heady in reasoning of matters of religion." On the following day she was taken to the Tower and racked; according to Anne's own statement, as recorded by Bale, the lord chancellor, Wriothesley, and the solicitor-general, Rich, worked the rack themselves; but she "would not convert for all the pain" (Wriothesley, Chronicle i. 168). Her torture, disputed by Jardine, Lingard and others, is substantiated not only by her own narrative, but by two contemporary chronicles, and by a contemporary letter (ibid.; Narratives of the Reformation, p. 305; Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd Ser. ii. 177). For four weeks she was left in prison, and at length on the 16th of July, she was burnt at Smithfield in the presence of the same persecuting dignitaries who had condemned her to death.
Authorities. - Bale's two tracts, printed at Marburg in November 1546 and January 1547, are the basis of Foxe's account. See also Acts of the Privy Council (1542-1547), pp. 424-462; Wriothesley's Chron. i. 155, 167-169; Narratives of the Reformation, passim; Gough's Index to Parker Soc. Publications; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of England; Dict. Nat. Biogr.
(A. F. P.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)