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1230 [1229]

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

vnto hym, that he was very well contented that I should come forth to a communciation, & appointed me to appeare before him the next day after, at 3. of the clock at after noone.

Moreouer, he said vnto him, that he would there should be at the examination suche learned men as I was affectioned to, that they might see, & also make report that I was handled with no rigour. He answered him that he knew no man þt I had more affectiō to, thē to other. Then said the bishop: yes as I vnderstand, she is affectioned to D. Crome, sir Gillam, Whitehead, and Huntington, that they might heare the matter: for she did know them to be learned, and of a godly iudgement 

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David Whitehead was a well known evangelical, and was involved, with Archbishop Cranmer and other 'luminaries of the evangelical establishment', as Diarmaid MacCulloch describes them, in attempting the conversion of Joan Boucher during Edward VI's reign (See Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer [Yale, 1996], p. 474).

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. MarginaliaBoners promise to M. Britaine. Also he required my cousine Britayne, that he should earnestly persuade me to vtter euen the very bottom of my hart: and he sware by his fidelitie, that no mā should take any aduauntage of my wordes: neither yet would he lay ought to my charge for any thing that I should there speake: but if I said any maner of thing amisse, he with other more would be glad to reforme me therein, wyth most godly counsaile.

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MarginaliaAnne Askew brought forth to communication before Boner. On the morrow after, the bishop of London sent for me, at one of the clocke, hys houre beyng appointed at three, and as I came before him, he said he was very sory of my trouble, and desired to know my opiniō in such matters as were layd against me. He required me also in any wise boldly to vtter the secretes of my hart, bidding me not to feare in any point, for whatsoeuer I did say in his house, no man should hurt me for it. I answered: for so much as your lordship appointed thre of the clocke, and my friendes shall not come til that houre, I desire you to pardon me of geuing answer til they come. Then said he, that he thought it meete to send for those 4. men which were afore named & appointed. Thē I desired him not to put them to the paine, for it shoulde not neede, because the two gentlemen which were my friendes were able enough to testifie that I should say.

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Anone after, he went into his gallery with M. Spilman, and willed him in any wise that he should exhort me to vtter all that I thought. In the mean while he commaunded his Archdeacō to commō with me. Who MarginaliaTalke betwene the archdeacon & Anne Askew. said vnto me: Mistres wherefore are you accused & thus troubled here before the bishop? To whom I answered agayne and said: Sir, aske, I pray you, my accusers, for I know not as yet. Thē toke he my booke out of my hand, and said: Such bokes as this, haue brought you to the trouble ye are in. Beware (saith he) beware, for he that made this booke and was the author therof, was an heretike I warrant you, and burnt in Smithfield. Then I asked him if he were certayne and sure, that it was true that he had spoken. And he said he knew well the booke was of I. Frithes making. Then I asked him if he were not ashamed for to iudge of the booke before he sawe it within, or yet knew the truth thereof. MarginaliaRashe iudgemēt reproued. I said also that such vnaduised and hastie iudgement is a token apparant of a very slender witte. Then I opened the boke and shewed it him. He said he thought it had ben an other, for he could find no fault therein. MarginaliaGood counsell geuen to the archdeacon. Then I desired him no more to be so vnaduisedly rash and swift in iudgement, til he thoroughly knew the truth, and so he departed from me 

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John Frith (1503-33) was a Cambridge fellow who went into exile in 1528 but unwisely returned to England in 1533 and was burnt for heresy. He was notorious for his reformed polemic, and famously engaged in printed disputation with Thomas More over purgatory and the nature of the Sacrament. The book referred to in this passage is most likely Frith's book against Thomas More, written from prison, A Boke Made by J. Frith (1533). Nevertheless, Askew clearly did not have Frith's book with her.

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MarginaliaM. Britaine. Immediatly after came my cosine Britaine in with diuers other, as MarginaliaEdward. Hall. M. Hall of Grayes Inne, & such other like. Then my lord of London persuaded my cosine Britaine as he had done oft before, which was that I should vtter the bottom of my hart in any wise. MarginaliaTalke betwene Anne Askew and Boner. My Lord said after that vnto me, that he would I should credite the counsaile of such as were my frendes and well willers in this behalf, which was, that I should vtter al things that burdened my cōscience: for he ensured me that I should not neede to stand in doubt to say any thing. For like as he promised thē (he said) he promised me & would performe it: which was, that neither he nor any man for him, should take me at aduantage of any word I should speake: and therefore he bad me say my mynd without feare. I aunswered him that I had nanght to say: for my conscience (I thanked God) was burdened with nothing.

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MarginaliaBoners similitude. Then brought he forth this vnsauery similitude: that if a man had a wound, no wise Surgion would minister helpe vnto it before he had sene it vncouered. In like case, saith he, cā I geue you no good coūsaile, vnlesse I know wherewt your conscience is burdened, I answered that my consciēce was cleare in all things: & for to lay a plaister vnto the whole skin it might appeare much folly.

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Then you driue me (sayth hee) to lay to your charge your owne report, which is this: MarginaliaBoners first obiection agaynst Anne Askew. You did say, he that doth receiue the Sacrament by the handes of an ill Prieste or a sinner, receiueth the deuill and not God. To that I aunswred, þt I neuer spake such wordes But as I sayd afore both to þe Quest and to my Lord Maior, so say I now agayne that the wickednes of the Priest should not hurt me, but in spirit and fayth I receiued no lesse then the body and bloud of Christ. Then sayd the Byshop vnto me, what saying is this, in spirite? I will not take you at that aduauntage. Then I aunswered: my Lord, without fayth and spirite, I can not receiue hym worthely 

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As Bonner makes clear, Askew's use of the term 'in spirit and faith' to describe her receipt of the body and blood of Christ is provocative in implying an absence of Christ's corporeal presence in the bread and wine.

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Marginalia2 Article. Then he layd vnto me, that I should say, that the Sacrament remaynyng in the pixe, was but bread. I annswered that I neuer sayd so, but in deede the Quest asked me such a question, whereunto I would not aunswer (I sayd) tyll such tyme as they had assoyled me this question of myne, wherfore Steuen was stoned to death? They sayd they knew not. Then sayd I againe, no more would I tel them, what it was.

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Marginalia3. Article. Then sayd my Lord vnto me that I had aledged a certeine text of the Scripture. I Aunswered that I aleadged none other but S. Pauls owne saying to the Athenians in the xvij. chap. in the Apostles actes, that God dwelleth not in Temples made with handes. Then asked hee me what my fayth and beliefe was in that matter? I aunswered him: I beleue as the Scripture doth teache me.

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Marginalia4. Article. Then inquired hee of me, what if the Scripture doe say that it is the body of Christ? I beleue, sayd I, as the scripture doth teach mee, Then asked hee agayne, what if the Scripture do say that it is not þe body of Christ? My aunswere was still, I beleue as the Scripture informeth mee. And vpon this argument hee taryed a great while to haue driuen me to make him an aunswere to his mynde. How be it I would not: but concluded this with him, that I beleue therin and in all other thynges as Christ and his holy Apostles dyd leaue them.

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MarginaliaAnne Askew charged with few wordes. Then he asked me, why I had so fewe woordes? And I aunswered, God hath geuen me the gifte of knowledge, but not of vtterance. And Salomō sayth, that a woman of few wordes is a gift of God Prou. xix. 

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Proverbs 19 (19: 14) does not read as Askew renders it, that a woman of 'few wordes is a gift of God," but rather, that "a discrete woman is the gyfte of the Lord' (The Byble in Englyshe [London, 1539], xxxiii[r]). This is so in both the 1537 Thomas Matthew's Bible, and the 1539 'Great' Bible, placed in every parish church by order of Parliament. In a popular contemporary edition of Proverbs, the text reads 'House & goodes come from the fathers by heritage: but a wyse wife is given of the lorde' (The p[ro]uerbes of Solomon newly translated into Englyshe [London,1534], n.p.).

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Marginalia5. Article Fiftly my Lord laid vnto my charge that I should say that the masse was superstitious, wicked, & no no better then idolatry. I answered him no: I said not so. How be it I say the quest did aske me whether priuate masse did relieue soules departed or no? Vnto whome then I answered: O lord what Idolatry is this, that we should rather beleue in priuate Masses, then in the healthsom death of the deare sonne of God? Then said my Lord againe: What an aunswere is that? Though it be but mean (said I) yet it is good enough for the question 

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Askew is here again indicating her rejection of the idea of the mass as a propitiatory sacrifice. Bonner understands this, as he shows in his reaction: 'What an aunswer is that?' (See Megan L. Hickerson, 'Negotiating Heresy in Tudor England: Anne Askew and the Bishop of London', Journal of British Studies 46 [October 2007], 788-89.)

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Then I told my lord that there was a priest, which did heare what I said there before my L. Mayor & them. With that the Chancellor answered, which was the same priest: So she spake it in very dede (saith he) before my Lord Maior and me.

Then were there certain priestes, as D. Standish and other, which tempted me much to know my minde. And I answered them alwaies thus: that I saied to my L. of Lōdon, I haue said. MarginaliaD. Stādishes demaunde. Then D. Standish desired my L. to bid me say my mind concerning the same text of s. Paules learning, that I being a woman, should intreprete the Scriptures, specially where so many wise learned men were 

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Standish's reference is to 1 Corinthians 14. Foxe omits, here, Askew's answer to Standish. As Thomas Freeman and Sarah Wall have noted, the passage in Foxe's base-text, Bale's 1550 (Copland) edition, reads: 'doctor Standish desired my lord, to byd me say my mind, concerning the same text of. S. Paule. I answered that it was against saynt Paules lerning, that I being a woman, shuld interprete the scriptures, specially where so many wise lerned men were'. Freeman and Wall have argued convincingly that this was a case of 'eye skip' - an error on the part of the compositor copying from Bale's 1550 (Copland) edition (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], 1175-76).

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Then my Lord of London said he was infourmed that one should aske of me if I would receyue the sacrament at Easter, and I made a mocke of it. MarginaliaAnne Askew could not haue her accuser. Then I desired that myne accuser might come foorth: which my Lord woulde not. But he said agayne vnto me, I sent one to geue you good counsel, and at the first worde you called hym Papist. That I denyed not, for I perceyued he was no lesse: yet made I hym none answeare vnto it.

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MarginaliaThe priestes of Lincolne agaynst An. Askew. Then he rebuked me, and saide that I shoulde reporte, that there were bent against me threescore priestes at Lyncolne. In deede (quoth I) I sayd so. For my frendes told me, if I dyd come to Lincolne, the Priestes would assault me, & put me to great trouble, as therof they had made their boast: and whē I heard it I went thither in deede, not being afrayd, because I knew my matter to be good. Moreouer, I remained there. ix. dayes, to see what would be sayd vnto me. And as I was in the Minster, readyng vpon the Bible, they resorted vnto me by. ij. & by. ij. by. v. and by. vi. mynding to haue spoken to me, yet went they their wayes agayne without wordes speakyng.

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Then my Lorde asked, if there were not one that dyd speake vnto me. I told hym yes, that there was one of thē at the last, whiche dyd speake to me in deede. And my Lord then asked me what he said? And I told him, his wordes were of smal effect, so þt I did not now remēber thē. Then said my L. there are many that read and know the scripture, and yet folow it not nor liue therafter. MarginaliaAnne Askew standeth vpō her honestye. I said againe, my lord I would wish that all men knew my conuersation and liuing in all pointes, for I am sure of my self this houre that there are none able to proue any dishonesty by me. If you know any that can do it, I pray you bryng them forth 

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Whether or not Bonner implies, here, immoral living on Askew's part, this is how she interprets it, as she shows in her answer. In context, a woman's 'honesty' is her chastity, and her 'conversation' is her moral behavior. In his gloss ('Anne askew standeth upon her honesty') Foxe also suggests that this exchange is about Askew's sexual morality.

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Then my Lord went away, and sayd he would entitle somewhat of my meanyng, and so he wrote a great circumstaunce. But what it was, I haue not all in memorie, for he would not suffer me to haue the copie therof. Onely do I

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