Monday, July 11, 2011

Martyrdom of Anne Askew

Anne Askew, an English woman, was imprisoned for trying to spread the gospel. She was shown the rack in her cell and asked if she would name those who believed as she did. Askew declined to name anyone at all, so she was asked to remove her clothing. She then climbed onto the rack and her wrists and ankles were fastened. Again, she was asked for names, but she would say nothing. The wheel of the rack was turned, pulling Askew along the device and lifting her. Askew claims in her own account that she fainted with the pain, and was lowered and revived. This procedure was repeated twice. She then began to witness to her torturer, Kingston, for two hours. Kingston refused to carry on torturing her, so he left.

Not long after this, she was burnt on 16 July 1546, with John Lascelles and two other Protestants. Askew was carried to execution in a chair since she couldn't walk. She was dragged from the chair to the stake which had a small seat attached to it. Finally, she was asked to deny her faith, but she told everyone watching that she did not come there to deny her Lord and Master. The executioner hung a bag of gunpowder around her neck in order to speed her death along, and it exploded nearly immediately. Those who saw her execution were quite impressed by how brave she was, and reported that she did not scream until the flames reached her chest.

Anne Askew has left us a legacy that we all need to follow in terms of radical service for Christ.