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1459 [1459]

K. Henry. 8. Anne Askew, Ioh. Lacelles, Ioh. Adams, Nich. Belenian, Martyrs.

these wordes that I haue nowe spoken, wyll I suffer death.

MarginaliaThe prayer of An. Askew.O Lord, I haue moe enemies now, then there be heares on my head. Yet Lord, let them neuer ouercome me with vaine wordes, but fight thou Lord in my stede, for on thee cast I my care. Wyth all the spight they can imagine, they fall vpon me, whych am thy poore creature. Yet swete Lord, let me not set by them whych are agaynst me: for in thee is my whole delight. And Lord J hartely desire of thee, that thou wylt of thy most mercyfull goodnes forgeue them that violence, whych they do and haue done vnto me. Open also thou theyr blynde hartes, that they may hereafter doo that thyng in thy sight, whych is onely acceptable before thee, and to set forth thy veritye aright, wythout all vayne phantasies of sinfull men. So be it. O Lord, so be it.

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By me Anne Askew.

HEtherto we haue intreated of this good woman. Now it remaineth that we touch somwhat as concerning her end & Martyrdome 

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Foxe again adds to the information provided by his base text in providing details of Askew's execution. In the 1563 edition (681-82) he describes Askew's crippled state which made it necessary to bring her to the stake in a chair, and portrays her both 'stoutly' resisting Shaxton's attempt to 'make her turn' in the sermon of recantation that he gave at her execution, and refusing even to look at the royal pardon offered to her on condition of her own recantation. Foxe adds to these details in the 1570 edition; it is here that the reader learns the names of those notables in attendance and of Askew's interjections into Shaxton's sermon ('where he sayde well, confirmed the same: where he sayd amysse, there sayd she, he misseth, and speaketh without the book' (1570, p. 1420). It is also in this edition that the reader learns of Askew's response to the offer of a royal pardon - that 'shee came not thither to deny her Lord and Mayster' - and that, as she was offered her pardon first, the men burnt with her followed 'the constancie of the woman' in refusing theirs. Like Askew in the 1563 edition, they 'denyed not onely to receive them, but also to looke upon them'.

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Foxe's source for this additional information remains uncertain, but it is likely that this material came from eyewitnesses to her death, and Freeman and Wall suggest, as a source, Francis Russell, the second Earl of Bedford. As they note, Russell had provided Foxe with other information and documents for the 1570 edition of the Acts and Monuments, and John Russell, his father, was seated at the execution with Wriothelsey and other notables. It is possible that Francis, a young man at the time, was with his father at the execution. (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], 1185).

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. After that shee, beyng borne of such stocke and kynred, that she might haue liued in great wealth and prosperitie, if she woulde rather haue followed the world, thē Christ, now had ben so tormented, that shee coulde neither lyue long in so great distresse, neither yet by her aduersaries bee suffered to dye in secret: MarginaliaAn. Askew brought vnto the stake.the day of her execution beyng appoynted, she was brought into Smithfield in a chaire, MarginaliaAn. Askew lamed vpon the racke.because she could not go on her feete, by meanes of her great torments. Whē she was brought vnto the stake, she was tied by the middle with a chayne, that held vp her body. When all things were thus prepared to the fire, Doctor Shaxton, who was then appoynted to MarginaliaShaxton preached at Anne Askewes burning.preach, began his Sermon. Anne Askew hearing, and answering againe vnto hym, where he sayde well, confirmed the same: where he sayd amysse, there sayd she, he misseth, and speaketh without the booke.

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The Sermon being finished, the Martyrs standing there tyed at three seuerall stakes ready to theyr Martirdome, beganne their prayers. The multitude and concourse of þe people was exceeding, the place where they stoode beyng rayled about, to keepe out the prease. Vpō the benche vnder S. Bartelmewes church sat Wrysley, Chaūcellour of England, the old Duke of Northfolk, the old Earle of Bedford, the lord Maior, with diuers other mo. Before the fire should be set vnto them, one of the bench hearing that they had gunpouder about them, and being afeard least the fagots by strength of the gunpouder would come flying about their eares, began to bee afrayde: but the Earle of Bedford declaring vnto him, how the gunpouder was not layde vnder the fagots, but onely about their bodies, to ryd thē out of their payne, which hauing vent, there was no daunger to them of the fagots, so diminished that feare. Thē Wrisley lord Chauncelour, sent to Anne Askew letters, offering to her the kinges pardon, if she would recant. MarginaliaAnne Askew refuseth the kinges pardon.Who refusing once to looke vpon them, made this aunswere agayne: that shee came not thither to deny her Lord and Mayster. Then were the letters likewyse offered vnto the other, who in like maner following the constancie of the woman, denyed not onely to receiue them, but also to looke vpon them. Whereupon the Lord Maior commaunding fire to be put vnto them, cryed with a loud voyce, fiat iustitia. MarginaliaIustitia iniusta.

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? The order and manner of the burning of Anne Askew, John Lacelles, and others, with certayne of the Counsell sitting in Smithfield.
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This large woodcuts was reused from another book printed by or for John Day; it first appeared in Robert Crowley's The confutation of .xiii. articles, wherunto N. Shaxton...subscribed [1548]. A successful panoramic scene (which had to be folded to fit into the octavo book it was made for), it is in a style unlike other woodcuts in the Acts and Monuments. Its designer was faithfully following the description given by John Bale in the 1546-7 editions of Anne Askew's Examinations. The bolt of lightning coming from the cloud at the top over the church is explained by this textual fidelity. The vast crowd of onlookers forming a great circle round the execution is quite skilfully presented from an aerial viewpoint looking down on the throng of packed heads. Note the gable cross on east end of the church and the figures on the roof and tower. The notables present are seated on a specially erected scaffold that set them high above the standing spectators and the ring. Within the circle of action, Bishop Shaxton is raised up in his portable wooden pulpit, officials gather the bundles of faggots for the fire, and at the centre Anne Askewe and the companions with whom she was to die stand waiting.

MarginaliaThe Duke of Northfolke.
Wrysley Chauncellour.
The olde Earle of Bedforde.
The Lord Maior.
MarginaliaAn. Askew gentlewoman,
Ioh. Lacelles gentleman,
Iohn Adams Taylor,
Nic. Beleniā Priest,
Martyrs.

And thus þe good Anne Askew with these blessed Martyrs, being troubled so many maner of wayes, and hauing passed through so many tormentes, hauing nowe ended the long course of her agonies, being compassed in with flames of fire, as a blessed sacrifice vnto God, she slept in the Lord, an. 1546. leauing behinde her a singuler example of Christen constancie for all men to follow.

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¶ Iohn
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