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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Anne Askew

b. circa 1521, Stallingborough, Lincolnshire, England; d. 1546, Smithfield, England

Born into an established family in Lincolnshire, Anne Askew seems to have been well-versed in biblical literature by the time of her marriage to Thomas Kyme. The match had been arranged by her father William; in fact, Anne’s sister Martha was originally slated to marry Kyme but died before the wedding could take place. Rather than forfeit the financial assets that would be realized through the union, William Askew offered Anne as a replacement. Unhappy from the start, and increasingly drawn to Protestantism, Anne rebelled against her Catholic husband by traveling to London around 1544 to become involved in religious reform. In 1545, she was arrested and charged with heresy but soon released. She was arrested again in 1546, tortured, and imprisoned in the Tower. She refused to recant or to name her Protestant associates and was burned at the stake in July 1546. Examinations, a document of her inquisition before London authorities and churchmen, written by Anne as she awaited execution, was published the following year.