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1458 [1458]

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

perseuer, and wyll do (I hope) to the very end.

Then was I brought to an house, and laid in a bed, with as werye and painful bones, as euer had pacient Iob, I thanke my Lord God thereof. Then my Lord Chauncellour sent me worde if I would leaue my opinion, I should want nothing: MarginaliaAnne Askew threatned to be burned.If I would not, I should forth to Newgate, & so be burned. I sent hym agayne word, that I would rather die, then to breake my faith.

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Thus the Lord open the eyes of their blynd hartes, that the truth may take place. Farewell deare frende, and pray, pray, pray 

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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 rackyng of Anne Askew.Touching the order of her racking 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 downe into a dungeon, where Sir Anthony Kneuet þe Lieuetenant cōmaunded his Gayler to pinch her with þe racke. Which being done so much as he thought sufficient, went about to take her downe, supposing he had done enough. But Wrisley the Lorde Chauncellour, not contented that she was loosed so soone confessing nothing, commaunded the Lieuetenant to streine her on the racke agayn. Which because he denied to doo, tendering the weakenes of the womā, he was threatned therfore greuously of the sayd Wrisley, saying that he woulde signifie hys disobedience vnto the king: MarginaliaThe Lord Wrysley and Syr Ioh. Baker play the tormentours.and so consequently vpon the same, hee and Syr Iohn Baker throwing of theyr gownes, would nedes play the tormētors them selues: first asking her if shee were with childe. To whom she aunswering againe, 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, till her bones and ioyntes almost were pluckt a sūder, in such sort, as she was caried away in a chair. When the rackyng was past, Wrysley and hys felow tooke theyr horse toward the Court.

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MarginaliaWrysley the Lorde Chauncellour preuented by the lieutenant.In the meane tyme, while they were makyng their waye by land, the good Lieutenaunt eftsoones takyng boate, sped hym in all hast to the Court to speake with the kyng before the other, and so did. Who there makyng hys humble sute to the kyng, desired his pardon and shewed hym the whole matter as it stoode, and of the rackyng of Mistres Askew, & how he was threatned by the Lord Chauncellour, because at his commaundement, not knowyng his highnes pleasure, hee refused to racke her: whiche hee for compassion could not finde in his hart to do, and therfore humbly craued his hyghnes pardon. Whiche 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 and 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.

¶ A. Askewes aunswere vnto Ioh. Lacels letter.

MarginaliaThe aunswere of Anne Askew to Maister Lacelles letter.OH frend most dearely beloued in God, I meruel not a litle, what should moue you to iudge in me so slender a fayth, as to feare death, whiche is the end of all misery. In the Lord I desyre you, not to beleue of me such wickednes. For I doubt it not, but God will performe hys worke in me, lyke as he hath begon. I vnderstand the Counsel is not a litle displeased, that it should be reported abroad, that I was racked in the Tower 

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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 dyd there, was but to feare me: wherby I perceyue, they are ashamed of theyr vncomely doynges, and feare much lest the kynges maiestye should haue information therof. Wherefore 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 aunswere of Anne Askew agaynst the false surmises of her recantation.

MarginaliaAnne Askew aūswering to the false suspicion of her recantyng.I Haue read the processe whiche is reported of them that know not the truth, to be 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 did bynde me to beleue: more had they neuer of me. Then he made a copie whiche is now in print, and required me to set thereunto my hand. But I refused it. Then my ij. sureties did will me in no wise to sticke therat, for it was no great matter, they sayd.

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MarginaliaA. Askew falsly suspected to recant, and vpon what occasion.Then with much adoe, at the last I wrote thus: I Anne Askew do beleue this, if Gods woorde do agree to the same, and the true Catholicke Churche. Thē the Byshop, beyng in great displeasure with me because I made doubtes in my writyng, commaunded me to prison: where I was a while, but afterwardes by the meanes of frendes, I came out agayne. Here is the truth of that matter. And as concernyng the thyng that ye couet most to know, resort to þe vj. of Iohn, & bee ruled alwayes therby. Thus fare ye well.

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A. Askew.

¶ The confession of the faith which Anne Askew made in Newgate before she suffered.

MarginaliaThe confession of A. Askew, going to her execution.I Anne Askew of good memory, although my merciful father hath geuen me the bread of aduersitie and the water of trouble: yet not so muche as my sinnes haue deserued: confesse my selfe here a synner before the throne of his heauenly maiestye, desiring his forgeuenes and mercy. And for so much as I am by the lawe vnrighteously condemned for an euill doer concerning opinions, I take the same most mercifull God of mine, which hath made both heauē and earth, to recorde that I hold no opinions contrarie to his most holy word. And I trust in my mercyfull Lord, which is the geuer of all grace, that he wyll graciously assist me agaynst all euill opinions, which are contrarye to his blessed veritie. For I take him to witnes, that I haue done and wyll vnto my liues end, vtterlye abhorre them to the vttermost of my power.

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MarginaliaThe matter & cause why A. Askew suffered death.But this is the heresie which they report me to hold, that after the Priest hath spoken the wordes of consecration, there remaineth bread styll. They both saye, and also teach it for a necessary article of faith, that after those woordes be once spoken, there remayneth no bread, but euen the self same body that hoong vpon the crosse on good Friday, both flesh, bloud, and bone. To this beliefe of theirs, say I nay: For then were our comō Crede false, which sayth, that he sitteth on the right hand of God the father almightye, and from thence shall come to iudge the quicke and dead 

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This is a reference to the Apostles' Creed.

. Lo, this is the heresie that I holde, and for it must suffer the death. But as touching the holy & blessed supper of the Lord, I beleue it to be a most necessary remembraunce of his glorious sufferinges and death. Moreouer, I beleue as much therein, as my eternall and onelye redemer Iesus Christ would I should beleue.

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Finally, I beleue al those scriptures to be true, which he hath confirmed with his most precious bloud. MarginaliaScripture sufficient to our saluation.Yea, and as saynt Paule sayth, those scriptures are sufficient for our learning and saluatiō, that Christ hath left here with vs: So that I beleue, we nede no vnwritten verities to rule his church with. Therefore looke what he hath sayd vnto me with hys own mouth in hys holy Gospell, that haue I with Gods grace closed vp in my hart: and my ful trust is (as Dauid saith) that it shal be a lantern to my footesteps. MarginaliaPsal. 28.Psalm. xxviii.

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MarginaliaA. Askew falsely reported to deny the ho Eucharist.There be some do say, that I denie the Euchariste or sacrament of thankes geuing: but those people doo vntruly reporte of me. For I both saye and beleue it, that if it were ordered lyke as Christ instituted it and left it, a most singular comfort it were vnto vs al. Marginalia Masse abominable Idoll.But as concerning your Masse, as it is nowe vsed in our daies, I do say and beleue it to be the most abominable Idoll that is in the world: For my God will not be eaten with teeth, neither yet dyeth he agayne. And vpon

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these
VVV.iij.
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