Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 02.djvu/202

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Askew
Askew
190

raised commotions. On 28 June, accordingly, Lord Hussy, Sir Robert Constable, and Aske were carried on horseback from the Tower into the north. Hussy was beheaded at Lincoln, Constable was hanged in chains at Hull, and Aske suffered the like fate within the city of York.

On a tower of the church of Aughton, in the East Riding, is a rather ambiguous inscription below a shield: 'Christofer le second filz de Robert Ask ch'r oblier ne doy A° D'i 1536.' This, as Pegge remarks, might be translated, 'I, Christopher, the second son of Robert Ask, knight, ought not to forget the year of our Lord 1536.' But it may be, as he also suggests, that the tower itself is supposed to speak: 'I ought not to forget Christopher,' and that 1536 is to be read merely as the date of the inscription (Allen's County of York, ii. 231). Under any circumstances it is a very striking memorial of that terrible year. This Christopher may have been the brother, and Sir Robert Ask the father, of the insurgent. They were certainly near relations.

|[Hall's Chronicle; Wriothesley's Chronicle; State Papers; Unpublished Papers in the Record Office.]

J. G.

ASKEW, ANNE (1521–1546), protestant martyr, was the second daughter of Sir William Askew, or Ayscough, knight, who is generally stated to be of Kelsey in Lincolnshire. But according to family and local tradition she was born at Stallingborough, near Grimsby, where the site of her father's house is still pointed out. The Askews were an old Lincolnshire family, and the consciousness of this fact may have had something to do with the formation of Anne's character. She was highly educated and much devoted to biblical study. When she stayed at Lincoln she was seen daily in the cathedral reading the Bible, and engaging the clergy in discussions on the meaning of particular texts. According to her own account she was superior to them all in argument, and those who wished to answer her commonly retired without a word.

At a time when she was probably still a girl a marriage was arranged by her parents for her elder sister, who was to be the wife of one Thomas Kyme of Kelsey. It was one of those feudal bargains which were of constant occurrence in the domestic life of those days. But the intended bride died before it was fulfilled, and her father, 'to save the money,' as we are expressly told, caused Anne to supply her place against her own will. She accordingly married Kyme, and had two children by him. But having, as it is said, offended the priests, her husband put her out of his house, on which she, for her part, was glad to leave him, and was supposed to have sought a divorce. Whether it was with this view that she came to London does not appear; but in March 1545 she underwent some examinations for heresy of which she herself has left us an account first at Sadler's Hall by one Christopher Dare, then before the lord mayor of London who committed her to the Counter, and afterwards before Bishop Bonner and a number of other divines. It is unfortunate that we have no other record of these proceeding than her own, which though honest was undoubtedly one-sided, and is not likely to have been improved in the direction of impartiality by having been first edited by John Bale, afterwards bishop of Ossory, during his exile in Germany.

The subject on which she lay under suspicion of heresy was the sacrament. The severe Act of the Six Articles, passed some years before, had produced such a crop of ecclesiastical prosecutions that parliament had been already obliged to restrict its operation by another statute, and Henry VIII himself at the end of this very year though it well to deliver an exhortation to parliament on the subject of christian charity. In such a state of matters Anne Askew had little chance of mercy. It is, however, tolerably clear, notwithstanding the gloss which Bale, and Fox after him, endeavoured to put upon it, that one man who sincerely tried to befriend her was the much-abused Bishop Bonner. He did his utmost to conquer her distrust and get her to talk with him familiarly, promising that no advantage should be taken of unwary words; and he actually succeeded in extracting from her a perfectly orthodox confession (according to the standard then acknowledged), with which he sought to protect her from further molestation. But when it was read over to her and she was asked to sign, although she had acknowledged every word of it before, instead of her simple signature she added, 'I, Ann Askew, do believe all manner of things contained in the faith of the Catholic Church, and not otherwise.' The bishop was quite disconcerted. In Anne's own words, 'he flung into his chamber in a great fury.' He had told her that she might thank others and not herself, for the favour he had shown her, as she was so well connected. Now she seemed anxious to undo all his efforts on her behalf. Dr. Weston, however (afterward Queen Mary's dean of Westminster), contrived at this point to save her from her own indiscretion, representing to the bishop that