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1455 [1455]

K. Henry. 8. The first examination of Anne Askew, Martyr.

MarginaliaBoners misreport of An. Askewes confession.kew do cōfesse this to be my faith and beliefe, not withstandyng my reportes made afore to the contrary. I beleue that they whiche are houseled at the handes of a Priest whether hys conuersation be good or not, do re ther it be receyued or reserued, it is no lesse then the very body and bloud of Christ in substaunce. Finally I do beleue in this and in all other Sacramentes of holy Church, in all poyntes accordyng to þe olde Catholicke fayth of the same. In witnes wherof I the sayd Anne haue subscribed my name.

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There was somewhat more in it, whiche because I had not the copy, I can not now remember. Then he read it to me and asked me if I did agree to it. And I sayd agayne, I beleue so much therof as the holy Scripture doth agree vnto: wherefore I desire you, that ye will adde that thereunto. MarginaliaThe tenour of D. Boners wryting, wherunto An. Askew subscribed.Then he aunswered that I should not teach hym what he should write. With that, he went forth into his great chamber, and read the same Bill afore the audience, whiche enueygled and willed me to set to my hand saying also, that I had fauour shewed me. Then said the Byshop I might thāke other and not my selfe, of the fauour that I founde at his hand: for he considered (hee sayd) that I had good frēdes, & also that I was come of a worshipfull stocke.

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Then aūswered one Christopher, a seruaunt to M. Dennie: Rather ought you (my lord) to haue done it in such case, for Gods sake then for mans. Thē my Lord sat down, & tooke me the writyng to set therto my hād, and I writte after this maner: I Anne Askew do beleue all maner thynges conteyned in the fayth of the Catholicke Church 

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This 'circumstance' (or confession of faith) appears in Bonner's Bishop's Register (Guildhall Library MS 9531/12, 109r) as Foxe reproduces it. Askew's addendum to her signature, as she describes it - 'I Anne Askew do beleve all maner of things conteined in the faith of the catholike church' - is intended to relieve her of any commitment to ideas contained within the confession that actually conflict with her own beliefs. Her use of the word 'catholike' implies 'universal' - or rather, Christ's true universal church, rather than the orthodox church associated with Roman or Henrician 'Catholic' orthodoxy.

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It is impossible to ascertain whether or not Askew did sign the confession prepared for her by Bonner in the manner she describes. However, if she wrote the First Examination as part of an exercise also including her authorship of the Lattre - in effect, after the publication of this confession of faith in June 1546 (following her condemnation) - it is likely that she had an interest in denying that she had been apostate in 1545. (See Megan L. Hickerson, '"Ways of Lying": Anne Askew and the Examinations', Gender & History 18 [April 2006], 50-65.)

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And for as much as mention here is made of the writyng of Boner, which this godly woman sayd before she had not in memory, therefore I thought in this place to inferre the same, both with the whole circumstance of Boner, and with the title therunto prefixed by the Register, and also with her own subscription: to the entent the reader seing the same subscription, neither to agree with the tyme of the title aboue prefixed, nor with the subscription after the writyng annexed, might the better vnderstand therby what credit is to be geuen hereafter to such Byshops, and to such Registers. The tenour of Boners writyng procedeth thus.

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MarginaliaThe wordes of the Registers.The true copy of the confession and beliefe of Anne Askew, otherwise called Anne Kyme, made before the bishop of London the xx. day of March, in the yeare of our Lord God after the computation of the Churche of England. 1545. and subscribed with her owne hand in the presence of the sayd Byshop and other whose names hereafter are recited, set forth and published at this present, to the entent þe worlde may see what credence is now to be geuen vnto the same woman, who in so short a tyme hath most damnablye altered and chaunged her opinion and beliefe, and therefore rightfully in open Court arrayned and condemned. MarginaliaEx Regist.Ex Regist.

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MarginaliaThe copie of the Byshops report vpō the confession of An. Askew, as it standeth in the Register.BE it knovven to all faithful people, that as touching the blessed Sacrament of the aultar, I doo firmly and vndoubtedly beleue, that after the vvordes of consecration be spoken by the Priest, according to the common vsage of this Church of England, there is present really the body & bloud of our Sauiour Iesu Christ, vvhether the minister vvhich doth consecrate, bee a good man, or a bad man, and that also vvhensoeuer the sayde Sacrament is receiued, vvhether the receiuer be a good man or a bad man, he doth receiue it really & corporally. And moreouer, I doo beleue, that vvhether the sayd Sacrament then receiued of the Minister, or els reserued to be put into the Pixe, or to be brought to any person that is impotent or sicke, yet there is the very body and bloud of our sayd Sauiour: so that vvhether the Minister or the receiuer be good or bad, yea, vvhether the Sacrament be receiued or reserued, alvvayes there is the blessed body of Christ really.

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And this thing vvith all other thinges touching the Sacrament and other sacramentes of the church, and all things els touching the Christen belefe, vvhich are taught and declared in the kinges Maiesties booke lately setforth for the erudition of the Christen people, I Anne Askew, othervvise called Anne Kyme, doo truly and perfectly beleue, and so here presently confeße and knovvledge. And here I do promise that hence forth I shall neuer say or do any thing against the premisses, or against any of them. In vvitnes vvhereof, I the sayde Anne haue subscribed my name vnto these presentes. VVritten the. xx. day of March in the yeare of our Lord God. 1545. Ex Regist. MarginaliaEx Regist. Lond.

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By me Anne Askevv, otherwyse
called Anne Kime.

MarginaliaWitnesses.


Edmund bishop of London.
Owen Ogelthorpe doctor of diuinitie.
Richard Smith doctor of diuinitie.
Iohn Rudde Bacheler of diuinitie.
William Pie Bacheler of diuinitie.
Iohn Wymesley Archdeacon of London.

Iohn Cooke.
Robert Iohn.
Fraūces Spilman.

Edward Halle.
Alexander Bret.
Edmund Buts.
With diuers other moe being then present.

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MarginaliaBoner and hys Register reproued with an vntruth.Here mayest thou note, gentle Reader, in this confession, both in the Bishop and his Register, a double sleight of false conueiaunce. For although the confession purporteth the woordes of the Bishops writing, whereunto she did set her hand: yet by the title prefixed before, mayest thou see that both she was araigned and condemned before this was registred, and also that she is falsly reported to haue put to her hande, which in deede by this her own booke appeareth not so to be, but after this maner and condition: I Anne Askew do beleue all maner thinges contayned in the fayth of the Catholicke Church, and not otherwise. It followeth more in the storye 

Commentary  *  Close

Foxe's insertion of Askew's confession as reproduced in Bonner's register (Guildhall Library MS 9531/12, 109r) is intended to serve as proof that Askew did not betray her evangelical faith in 1545. According to Foxe, the preamble to the confession as it appears in the register proves it to be a forgery: it states both that the confession was made in March 1544 (new-style 1545), and that Askew had been arraigned and condemned in open court, which she had not until July 1546. Thus, Foxe argues, the confession was a fraud (see Thomas F. Freeman and Sarah E. Wall, 'Racking the Body, Shaping the Text: The Account of Anne Askew in Foxe's Book of Martyrs', Renaissance Quarterly 54 [2001], 1181-82).

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However, this is unlikely. Not only does Askew herself (according to the Examinations) twice admit to signing the confession, it is likely that the confession was only copied into Bonner's register a year after it was signed because that is when Askew was condemned to die: in other words, until that point the confession remained a largely private affair, as Bonner had promised Askew, in 1545, that their interaction would remain, but now it was useful to make it public as evidence of Askew's obduracy. The fact of its being publicized in 1546 very likely contributed to Askew's decision to write her self-consciously exculpatory account. (See Megan L. Hickerson, '"Ways of Lying': Anne Askew and the Examinations', Gender & History 18 [April 2006], 50-65.)

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MarginaliaBoner Byshop of London, in a chafe agaynst Anne Askew.Then because I did adde vnto it the Catholicke Church, he floonge into his chamber in a great furye. With that my cosyn Brittaine followed him, desiring hym for Gods sake to be good Lord vnto me. He aunswered that I was a woman, and that he was nothyng deceiued in me. Then my cosyn Bryttaine desired hym to take me as a woman, and not to set my weake womans wit, to his Lordships great wisdome.

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MarginaliaD. Weston.Then went in vnto him D. Weston, & sayd, that the cause why I did write there the Catholicke Churche, was, that I vnderstoode not the Church written afore. So with much ado, they perswaded my Lorde to come out agayne, and to take my name with the names of my sureties, which were my cosyn Brittayne, and maister Spylman of Graies Inne.

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This being done, we thought that I shoulde haue bene put to bayle immediately, according to the order of the law. Howbeit he would not suffer it, but committed me frō thence to prison againe, vntyll the next morrow, MarginaliaAnne Askewe brought to the Guild Hall.and then he wylled me to appeare in the Guild Hall, and so I dyd 

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This was illegal.

. Notwithstanding they would not put me to baile there neither, but read þe Bishops writing vnto me, as before, and so cōmaunded me agayne to prison.

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Thē were my sureties appointed to come before thē on the next morrow in Paules Church: which dyd so in deede. Notwithstanding they would once again haue broken of with them, because they would not be bound also for an other woman at their pleasure, whom they knewe not, nor yet what matter was layde vnto her charge. MarginaliaAnne Askew bayled at last vnder suerties with much adoe.Notwithstanding at the last, after much adoe and reasoning to and fro, they tooke a bonde of them of recognisance for my forth cōming. And thus I was at the last deliuered 

Commentary  *  Close

This is the end of the text comprising Askew's First Examination in Foxe's base text (Bale's 1550 edition of the Examinations).

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Wrytten by me Anne Askewe.

¶ The latter apprehension and examination of the worthy Martyr of God, Mistres A. Askew. An. 1546.

MarginaliaAnne Askew, Martyr.
1546.
A declaratiō of A. Askewe of these wordes of our Sauiour: This is my body, &c.
I Do perceiue (deare friend in the Lord) that thou art not yet perswaded throughly in the truth cōcerning the Lordes supper, because Christ sayd vnto hys Apostles: Take, eate, this is my bodye, which is geuen for you. In geuing forth the bread as an outwarde signe or token to be receiued with þe mouth, he minded thē in perfect belief to receiue that body of hys, which should dye for the people, and to thinke the death thereof to be the

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onelye
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