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1233 [1232]

K. Hen. 8. Anne Askew, Ioh. Lacelles, Ioh. Adams, Mich. Belenian, Martyrs.

I recited agayn the history of Bell, MarginaliaDan 19.
Actes. 7. 17.
Math. 24.
and the 19. chap. of Daniell, the 7. and 17. of the Actes, and the 24. of Mathew, concluding thus: I neither wish death, nor yet feare hys might, God haue the prayse therof with thankes.

My letter sent to the Lord Chauncelour.

MarginaliaThe letter of Anne Askew to the Lord Chaūcellour. THe Lord God, by whom all creatures haue theyr being, blesse you with the light of his knowledge. Amen.

My duety to your Lordshippe remembred. &c. It might please you to accept this my bolde sute, as the sute of one, which vpon due considerations is moued to the same & hopeth to obtaine. My request to your Lordship is onely: that it may please the same to be a meane for me to the kynges maiesty, that his grace may be certified of these fewe lynes which I haue written concerning my beliefe. Which when it shalbe truly conferred with the hard iudgement geuē me for the same, I thinke his grace shall well perceiue me to be weyed in an vneuen peire of balance. But I remit my matter and cause to almighty God, which rightly iudgeth all secrets. And thus I commend your Lordship to the gouernaunce of him and felowship of all saintes. Amen.

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By your handmayd Anne Askew.

My faith briefly written to the kinges grace.

MarginaliaThe beliefe of A Askew touching the Sacrament, written to the king. I Anne Askew, of good memory, although God hath geuen me the breade of aduersitie and the water of trouble, yet not so much as my sinnes haue deserued, desire this to bee known to your grace, that forasmuch as I am by the law condemned for an euill doer: Here I take heauen and earth to record, that I shall die in my innocency. And according to that I haue sayd first, and will say last, I vtterly abhorre and detest all heresies. And as concernyng the supper of the Lord, I beleue so muche as Christe hath sayde therein, whiche he confirmed with his most blessed bloud. I beleue also so muche as hee willed me to followe and beleeue so muche as the Catholicke Churche of him dothe teache For I will not forsake the cōmaundement of his holy lippes. But looke what God hath charged me with his mouth that haue I shut vp in my hart: and thus briefly I ende, for lacke of learnyng.

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Anne Askew.

The effect of my examination and handling, since my departure from Newgate.

MarginaliaThe cruell handling & racking of Anne Askew after her cōdemnation. ON Tuesday I was sent from Newgate to the signe of the crowne, whereas M. Rich and the Bishop of London withall their power and flattering wordes, went about to perswade me from God, But I did not esteeme their glosing pretences.

Then came there to me Nicolas Shaxton, and counselled me to recant as he had done. I sayd to hym, that it had bene good for hym, neuer to haue bene borne, with many other lyke wordes. Then M. Rich sent me to the Tower, where I remayned till three a clocke 

Commentary  *  Close

Askew is visited by (solicitor-general) Sir Richard Rich of the king's Privy Council and Bonner, the Bishop of London, both of whom try to persuade her to save herself through recantation, as does Nicholas Shaxton, former Bishop of Salisbury, who will preach a sermon of recantation at Askew's execution. Having failed in this effort, Rich sends Askew to the Tower of London, and the story of her infamous and illegal torture begins.

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Then came Rich and one of the Counsell, MarginaliaThis Counseller was syr Iohn Baker. charging me vpon my obedience, to shew vnto them, if I knew any man or woman of my sect. My aunswere was, that I knewe none. MarginaliaAnne Askew vrged to accuse others. Thē they asked me of my Lady of Suffolke, my Lady of Sussex, my Lady of Hertford, my Lady Denny, and my Lady Fizwilliams. I sayd, if I should pronounce any thing against them, that I were not able to proue it. Then sayd they vnto me, that the kyng was informed, that I could name if I would, a great number of my sect. I aunswered, that the king was as well deceiued in that behalfe, as dissembled with in other matters.

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Then commaunded they me to shew how I was maintayned in the Counter, and who willed me to sticke to by my opinion. I sayd that there was no creature that therein did strengthen me. And as for the helpe that I had in the Counter, it was by the meanes of my mayde. For as shee went abroad in the streetes. shee made mone to the Prentises, and they by her did send me money: but who they were I neuer knew.

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MarginaliaAnne Askew refuseth to accuse any. Thē they sayd, that there were diuers gentlewomen, that gaue me money: but I knew not their names. Then they said that there were diuers ladies that had sent me money. I aunswered, that there was a man in a blew coate, which deliuered me x. shillings, and said that my Lady of Hertford sent it me. And an other in a violet coate gaue me viij. shillings, & sayd þt my Lady Denny sent it me. Whether it were true or no, I cā not tell. For I am not sure who sent it me, but as the mayd did say. Then they saide, there were of the Counsell that did maintaine me. And I sayd no.

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MarginaliaAnne Askewe put on the racke. Then they did put me on the racke, because I confessed no Ladies or Gentlewomē to be of my opinion, & thereon they kept me a long time. And because I lay still & dyd not cry, MarginaliaWrysley and Baker racking Anne Askew. my L. Chaūcellour & syr Ioh. Baker, tooke paines to racke me with their owne handes, till I was nigh dead.

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Then the Lieftenaunt caused me to be loosed from the racke. Incontinently I swounded, and then they recouered me agayne. After that I sat two long houres reasonyng with my Lord Chauncellor vpon the bare flore, whereas he with many flatteryng wordes, perswaded me to leaue my opinion. MarginaliaAnne Askew constant in her fayth. But my Lord God (I thanke his euerlastyng goodnes) gaue me grace to perseuer, and will do (I hope) to the very end.

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Then was I brought to an house, and layd in a bed, with as werye & paynfull bones, as euer had pacient Iob, I thanke my Lord God therfore. Then my Lord Chauncellour sent me worde if I would leaue my opinion, I should want nothyng: MarginaliaAnne Askew threatned to be burned. If I would not, I should forth to Newgate, and so be burned. I sent him agayne word, that I would rather dye, then to breake my fayth.

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Thus the Lord open the eyes of their blind harts, that the truth may take place. Farewell deare frend, and pray, pray, pray 

Commentary  *  Close

Prior to putting Askew on the rack, Rich and 'one of the Counsell' - Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor of England - questioned Askew about the identity of fellow evangelicals, specifically a number of noblewomen of the queen's court. When Askew fails to provide them with incriminating information about 'Ladies or Gentlewomen' of her 'opinion', she is put on the rack, with Wriothesley and Rich eventually racking her with their own hands until, as she put it, she was 'nigh dead'. Following this ordeal, and more discussion with the Lord Chancellor, Askew confirms her faith and accepts death, concluding this part of her account with a farewell to her reader.

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MarginaliaThe order of the racking of Anne Askew. Touchyng the order of her rakyng in the Tower 

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Foxe, at this point, in the second (1570) and subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments, makes one of his rare textual interventions into the Askew account in order to elaborate on her torture. In this he was aided by information from an interview with an unknown source, brief notes from which survive in manuscript at the British Library, as follows: 'Syr Anth. knevyt liewtenant of the towre and of the privy chambre in kynge Henrys tyme. Because at the commandment of wrysley, and Syr John baker, he would not racke so extremely as they required, they put of their gownes, and racked her themselves, and fell out with mr knevet. He mystrustyng them therewith went fyrst to the kyng and shewed hym the whole matter and obtained so much favour of hym, that cam a glad man home' (British Library MS Harleian 419, 2r.).

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This note provides a window into Foxe's method of manipulating primary source material. His version of the Knevet account is adorned with emphasis added to Knevet's compassion (in contrast to the cruelty of Rich and Wriothesley), as well as to Askew's gender, bravery and strength.

It is worth noting the problematic reference to Wriothesley (Wrysley) and 'Syr John Baker' in the note from Foxe's papers. It is also the case that when expanding on Askew's torture in the 1570 edition of the Acts and Monuments, Foxe refers to Wriothesley and 'Syr John Baker throwing of theyr gownes' to rack her. Baker was a Justice of the Peace and Privy Councillor allied to Gardiner and Wriothesley in conservative scheming at court, but it is virtually certain that it was not he who tortured Askew with Wriothesley, and Foxe changes his text in the 1583 (fourth) edition of the Acts and Monuments to replace Baker's name with Rich's, following, in this, the Askew/Bale account.

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thus it was. First she was led down into a dungeō, where Syr Anthonie Kneuet the Lieuetenant commaunded his Gayler to pinch her with the racke. Which beyng done so much as he thought sufficient, went about to take her downe, supposing hee had done enough. But Wrisley the Chauncellour, not contented that she was loosed so soone confessyng nothyng, commaunded the Lieuetenant to streine her on þe racke agayne. Which because he denyed to doo, tenderyng the weakenes of the woman, he was threatned therfore greuously of the sayd Wrisley, saying that he woulde signifie his disobedience vnto the kyng: MarginaliaThe L. Wrysley and syr Ioh. Baker play the tormentours. and so consequently vppon the same, he & Syr Iohn Baker throwing of theyr gowns, would nedes play the tormentors them selues: first askyng her if she were with childe. To whom shee aunsweryng agayne, sayd: ye shall not neede to spare for that, but do your wylles vpon me: And so quietlye and paciently praying vnto the Lorde: she abode their tyranny, til her bones & ioyntes almost were pluckt a sonder, in such sort as she was caried away in a chair. When the rakyng was past, Wrisley and hys felowe tooke theyr horse toward the Court.

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MarginaliaWrysley the Lorde Chauncellour preuented by the Lieutenaunt. In the meane tyme, while they were makyng theyr waye by land, the good Lieutenaunt eftsoones takyng boate, sped hym in all hast to the Court to speake with the kynge before the other, and so dyd. Who there makyng hys humble sute to the kyng, desired his pardon and shewed hym the whole matter as it stoode, & of the rakyng of Mistres Askew, and howe he was threatned by the Lorde Chauncellour, because at his cōmaundement, not knowyng his highnes pleasure, he refused to racke her: which he for compassiō could not finde in hys hart to do, and therfore humbly craued his highnes pardon. Which when the kyng had vnderstand, semed not very well to lyke of their so extreme handlyng of the woman, MarginaliaThe Lieutenant pardoned of the kyng. and also graunted to the Lieutenaunt his pardon, willyng hym to returne & see to his charge.

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Great expectation was in the meane season among the Warders and other officers of the Tower, waytyng for hys returne. Whom when they saw come so cherefullye, declaryng vnto them how he had spedde with the kyng, they were not a litle ioyous, and gaue thankes to God therfore.

Anne Askews aunswer vnto Io. Lacels letter.

MarginaliaThe aunswere of Anne Askew to M. Lacelles letter. OH frend most dearely beloued in God, I meruaile not a little, what should moue you to iudge in me so slender a fayth as to feare death, which is the ende of all misery. In the Lord I desire you not to beleue of me such wickednes. For I doubt it not, but God will performe his worke in me, lyke as he hath begon. I vnderstand the counsail is not a little displeased, that it should be reported abroad, that I was racked in the tower 

Commentary  *  Close

It is clear that news of Askew's torture was 'reported abroad', as she claims. Otwell Johnson of London wrote, in a letter to his brother, that Askew had received her judgment of the Lord Chancellor, 'to be burned… the gentlewoman and the other man remain steadfast; and yet', he continues, 'she hath been racked since her condemnation (as men say), which is a strange thing in my understanding. The Lord be merciful to us all' (Otwell Johnson to his Brother John Johnson [London, 2 July 1546], Letters & Papers Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, ed. James Gairdner and R.H. Brodie [London, 1862 1932], XXI, i, 1180).

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. They say now, that they did there, was but to feare me: wherby I perceiue, they are ashamed of theyr vncomely doings, and feare much lest the kings maiesty should haue information therof. Wherfore they would no man to noyse it. Well, their cruelty God forgeue them.

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Your hart in Christ Iesu. Farewell and pray.

The purgation or aunswer of Anne Askew against the false surmises of her recantation.

MarginaliaAnne Askew aunswering to the false suspicion of her recanting. I Haue read the processe whiche is reported of them that knowe not the truth, to bee my recantation. But as the Lord liueth, I neuer ment thing lesse then to recant. Notwithstandyng this I confesse, that in my first troubles, I was examined of the Byshop of London about the Sacrament. Yet had they no graunt of my mouth, but this, that I beleued therin as the worde of God dyd bynde mee to beleue: more had they neuer of mee. Then hee made a copye which is nowe in print, and required me to set thereunto my hand. But I refused it. Then my ij. suerties dyd will me in no wise to sticke thereat, for it was no great matter, they sayd.

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Then with much adoe, at the last I wrote thus: I Anne Askew do beleue this, if Gods worde do agree to the same

and
PPP.iij.
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