Anne Askew, Martyr

Is your surname Askew?

Research the Askew family

Anne Askew, Martyr's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Anne Askew

Also Known As: "Anne Ayscough", "Anne Ainscough"
Birthplace: South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, England
Death: Died in London, Greater London, UK
Place of Burial: England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Sir William Ayscough, MP and Elizabeth Wrottesley
Wife of Sir Thomas Kyme
Mother of William Askew and ? Askew
Sister of Sir Francis Ayscough, Kt.; Edward Ayscough; Martha Ascough, Fiancee; Jane Ayscough; Thomas Ascough and 2 others

Occupation: Martyr; Compelled to marry Thomas Kyme after her sister Martha died.
Managed by: Jerry Lee Nelson
Last Updated:

About Anne Askew, Martyr

Anne Askew

Anne Askew (née Ayscough or Ascue; married name Anne Kyme; 1521 – 16 July 1546)[1] was an English poet and Protestant who was condemned as a heretic. She is the only woman on record known to have been both tortured in the Tower of London and burnt at the stake. She is also one of the earliest-known female poets to compose in the English language and the first Englishwoman to demand a divorce (especially, as an innocent party on scriptural grounds).[2]

Anne Askew was born in 1521 in Lincolnshire, England. William Askew, a wealthy landowner, was her father. William was a gentleman in the court of King Henry VIII, as well as a juror in the trial of Anne Boleyn's co-accused.[3] William had arranged that his eldest daughter, Martha, be married to Thomas Kyme. When Anne was 15 years old, Martha died. William decided Anne would take Martha's place in the marriage to Thomas.[4]

Anne was a devout Protestant. She studied the Bible and memorized verses. She was true to her belief for the entirety of her life. Unfortunately, Thomas was a Catholic, which resulted in a brutal marriage between Anne and him. Anne had two children with Thomas before he threw her out for being Protestant.[4] It is alleged that Anne was seeking to divorce him, so this did not upset her.[4]

Upon being thrown out, Anne moved to London. Here she met other Protestants and studied the Bible. Anne stuck to her maiden name Askew, rather than her husband's name. While in London, Anne became a "gospeller" or a preacher.[5]

In March 1545, Thomas had Anne arrested. She was brought back to Lincolnshire, where Thomas demanded that she stay. The order was short lived; she escaped and returned to London to continue preaching. In 1546 she was arrested again, but released. In May 1546 she was arrested again, and tortured in the Tower of London. (She is the only woman recorded to have been tortured there.) She was ordered to name like-minded women, but refused. The torturers, Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley and Sir Richard Rich, used the rack, which stretches the victim by the limbs eventually causing dislocation of wrists, ankles, elbows, knees, shoulders and hips. Anne refused to renounce her beliefs. On 18 June 1546, Anne was convicted of heresy, and was condemned to be burned at the stake.[4]

On 16 July 1546 Askew was martyred in Smithfield, London. Due to the torture she had endured, Anne had to be carried to the stake on a chair. She burned to death, along with three other Protestants,[4] John Lassells, John Hemley ('a priest') and John Hadlam ('a tailor').[inconsistent][6]

In the last year of Henry VIII's reign, Anne was caught up in a court struggle between religious traditionalists and reformers. Stephen Gardiner was telling the king that diplomacy – the prospect of an alliance with the Catholic Emperor Charles V — required a halt to religious reform. The traditionalist party pursued tactics tried out three years previously, with the arrests of minor evangelicals in the hope that they would implicate those who were more highly placed. In this case measures were taken that were "legally bizarre and clearly desperate".[7] The people rounded up were in many cases strongly linked to Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, who spent most of the period absent from court in Kent: Anne's brother Edward Askew (Ayscough) was one of his servants, and Nicholas Shaxton who was brought in to put pressure on Anne to recant was acting as a curate for Cranmer at Hadleigh. Others in Cranmer's circle who were arrested were Rowland Taylor and Richard Turner.[7]

The traditionalist party included Thomas Wriothesley and Richard Rich who racked Anne Askew in the Tower, Edmund Bonner and Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. The intention of her interrogators may have been to implicate the Queen, Catherine Parr, through the latter's ladies-in-waiting and close friends, who were suspected of having also harboured Protestant beliefs. These ladies included the Queen's sister, Anne Parr, Katherine Willoughby, Anne Stanhope, and Anne Calthorpe. Other targets were Lady Denny and Lady Hertford, wives of evangelicals at court.[7] Anne Askew was martyred for 'acts against the Catholic Church' although Roman Catholics such as Thomas More were also put to death by Henry VIII.

Anne Askew underwent two "examinations" before she was finally burned at the stake for heresy. On 10 March 1545, the aldermen of London ordered for her to be detained under the Six Articles Act; she was accused of heresy and acts against the Catholic church. Askew stood trial before the "quest", which was an official heresy hearing commission. She was then cross examined by the chancellor of the Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner. He ordered to have her imprisoned for 12 days. During this time she refused to make any sort of confession. Her cousin Brittayn was finally allowed to visit her after the 12 days to bail her out.[8]

On 19 June 1546, Askew was, yet again, locked away in prison. She was then subject to a two-day-long period of cross examination led by Chancellor Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Stephen Gardiner, The Bishop of Winchester (John Dudley), and Sir William Paget (the king's principal secretary). They threatened her with execution, but she still refused to confess, name fellow Protestants, or convert back to Catholicism. She was then ordered to be tortured. Her torturers did so, probably motivated by the desire for Askew to admit that Queen Katherine Parr was also a practicing Protestant.[8] According to her own account, and that of gaolers within the Tower, she was tortured only once. She was taken from her cell, at about ten o'clock in the morning, to the lower room of the White Tower. She was shown the rack 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 all her clothing except her shift. Askew then climbed onto the rack, and her wrists and ankles were fastened. Again, she was asked for names, but she would say nothing.[9] The wheel of the rack was turned, pulling Askew along the device and lifting her so that she was held taut about 5 inches above its bed and slowly stretched. In her own account written from prison, Askew said she fainted from pain, and was lowered and revived.[10] This procedure was repeated twice. Sir Anthony Kingston, then Constable of the Tower of London, refused to carry on torturing her, left the tower, and sought a meeting with the king at his earliest convenience to explain his position and also to seek his pardon, which the king granted. Wriothesley and Rich set to work themselves.[9] They turned the handles so hard that Anne was drawn apart, her shoulders and hips were pulled from their sockets and her elbows and knees were dislocated. Askew's cries could be heard in the garden next to the White Tower where the Lieutenant's wife and daughter were walking. Askew gave no names, and her ordeal ended when the Lieutenant ordered her to be returned to her cell.[11]

Anne Askew was burned at the stake at Smithfield, London, aged 26, on 16 July 1546, with John Lascelles, Nicholas Belenian and John Adams.[inconsistent][12][13] She was carried to execution in a chair wearing just her shift as she could not walk and every movement caused her severe pain.[14] She was dragged from the chair to the stake which had a small seat attached to it, on which she sat astride. Chains were used to bind her body firmly to the stake at the ankles, knees, waist, chest and neck. Because of her recalcitrance she was burned alive slowly rather than being strangled first or burned quickly.[citation needed]

Those who saw her execution were impressed by her bravery, and reported that she did not scream until the flames reached her chest.[citation needed] The execution lasted about an hour, and she was unconscious and probably dead after fifteen minutes or so.[citation needed] Prior to their death, the prisoners were offered one last chance at pardon. Bishop Shaxton mounted the pulpit and began to preach to them. His words were in vain, however. Anne listened attentively throughout his discourse. When he spoke anything she considered to be the truth, she audibly expressed agreement; but when he said anything contrary to what she believed Scripture stated, she exclaimed: "There he misseth, and speaketh without the book." [15]

Anne wrote a first-person account of her ordeal and her beliefs, which was published as The Examinations by John Bale, and later in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments of 1563, which proclaims her as a Protestant martyr. The story of Askew's martyrdom was thus written into the Protestant hagiography; but as MacCulloch comments, it is written under a version of her unmarried name (which he attributes to some embarrassment over her desertion of her husband Kyme).[16] MacCulloch notes that Robert Parsons picked up on this aspect of the story.[17]

John Bale and John Foxe's writings on Askew are the most well-known accounts of her life, but a closer look at their writing causes some critics to question whether these editors help or hurt readers' understanding of Anne Askew. John Bale was the first to publish any work commemorating Askew's life, and he claimed to have solely taken Askew's writings and added only a preface and notes; but critics Thomas S. Freeman and Sarah Elizabeth Wall contest this claim (1169). It is unlikely that Bale invented the entire text, but they find that certain quotes within Askew's narrative have a Baleian tone (1169), and some sections may have been deleted (1170). The exacts are unknown, but Bale seems to have made considerable changes to the account. They also point out that Bale's work has imposed a misogynistic (or adverse towards women) misreading on the narrative. Askew is a woman who is remembered for taking a stand against the church's oppression, but Bale insists on her being a "weak vessel of the lord" (1166). Her narrative clearly disproves this, and shows that she was an educated woman who actively fought and challenged male control. Because of these criticisms, some argue that Askew's story is improved if read independently of Bale's notes and additions in order to understand her legacy without the distraction of an intrusive author (1167). Foxe's translation and interpretation are often considered an improvement from Bale's original. He eliminated Bale's notes and frames the story more around Askew's narrative (1167). But Foxe also took some artistic liberties by altering language to make certain allusions more obvious (1171) and breaking the narrative into paragraphs (1177). Critics have noted six clear Biblical citation errors within the work (1171); and Foxe also added new information that may have become known through eyewitnesses coming forward with new details, but the exact sources are unclear (1185). While Bale is criticized and Foxe is often commended for doing a better job with capturing her narrative, it is important to point out the accuracy issues of the two texts principally responsible for Askew's legacy.[18]

Anne Askew's autobiographical and published Examinations chronicle her persecution and offer a unique look into sixteenth century femininity, religion, and faith. Her writing is revolutionary because it deviates completely from what we think and expect from "Tudor women or, more specifically, Tudor women martyrs" (51). It depicts her confrontations with male authority figures of the time who challenged every aspect of life: from her progressive divorce, which she initiated, to her religious beliefs, which set her apart in England as a devout Protestant woman. Her ability to avoid indictment in 1545 points to what Paula McQuade calls Askew's "real brilliance", showing "her being familiar enough with English law to attempt to use the system to her benefit" (52). While her Examinations are a rare record of her experiences as a woman in Tudor England, they also show her unique position in this world as an educated woman. Not only was she able to write down her experiences, she was also able to correspond with select learned men of the time, such as John Lascelles and Dr. Edward Crome who was also arrested for heresy. As stated above, Askew's Examinations are imperfect and were altered by John Bale and John Foxe, but read as they were originally intended, Anne Askew's writing is one of the most important autobiographical accounts of 16th century religious turmoil we have to date, and is a testament to her intelligence and outstanding bravery.[19]



  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 02
  • Askew, Anne by James Gairdner
  • 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 she had not taken sufficient notice of the reference actually made to the church in the written form of the confession, and thought she was supplying an omission. The bishop was accordingly persuaded to come out again, and after some further explanations Anne was at length liberated upon sureties for her forthcoming whenever she should be further called in question. She had still to appear before the lord mayor, and did so on 13 June following, when she and two other persons, one being of her own sex, were arraigned under the act as sacramentaries ; but no witnesses appeared against her or either of the others, except one against the man, and they were all three acquitted and set at liberty.
  • The accusers of Anne had for the time been put to silence, but unfortunately within a year new grounds of complaint were urged, and she was examined a second time before the council at Greenwich. Her opinions meanwhile seem to have been growing more decidedly heretical, and her old assurance in the face of learned disputants was stronger than ever. She was first asked some questions about her husband, and refused to reply except before the king himself. She was then asked her opinion of the sacrament, and, being admonished to speak directly to the point, said she would not sing a new song of the Lord in a strange land. Bishop Gardiner told her she spoke in parables. She replied that it was best for him, for if she showed him the open truth he would not accept it. He then told her that she was a parrot, and she declared herself ready to suffer not only rebuke but everything else at his hands. She had an answer ready for 'each of the council that examined her. Indeed, she sometimes seemed to be examining them, for she asked the lord chancellor himself how long he would halt on both sides.
  • Nevertheless, she was more closely questioned this time than she had been the year before. She was five hours before the council at Greenwich, and was examined again on the following day, being meantime conveyed to Lady Garnish. On the following Sunday she was very ill and desired to speak with Latimer, but was not allowed. Yet in the extremity of her illness she was sent to Newgate in such pain as she had never suffered in her life. But worse awaited her. On Tuesday following she was conveyed from Newgate to the sign of the Crown, where Sir Richard Rich endeavoured to persuade her to abandon her heresy. Dr. Shaxton, also, late bishop of Salisbury, urged her to make a recantation, as he had just lately done himself, but all to no purpose. Rich accordingly sent her to the Tower, where a new set of inquiries were addressed to her, for it seems some members of the council suspected that she received secret encouragement from persons of great influence. She denied, however, that she knew any man or woman of her sect, and explained that during her last year's imprisonment in the Counter she had been maintained by the efforts of her maid, who 'made moan' for her to the prentices in the street, and collected money from them. She did not know the name of any one who had given her money, but acknowledged that a man in a blue coat had given her ten shillings, and said it was from my ladv Hertford. More than this even the rack could not get from her, which by her own statement afterwards (if we may trust a narrative which could scarcely in such a case have been actually penned by herself) was applied by Lord Chancellor Wriothesley himself and Sir Richard Rich, turning the screws with their own hands. Yet even after being released from this torture she 'sat two long hours reasoning with my lord chancellor upon the bare floor,' but could not be induced to change her opinion.
  • So far we have followed the account given as that of the sufferer herself. But it should be noticed that on 18 June 1546 she was arraigned for heresy at the Guildhall along with Dr. Shaxton and two others, all of whom confessed the indictment, and were sentenced to the fire. Dr. Shaxton and one of the others recanted next day, and it was either that day or a few days later that Anne Askew was racked in the Tower. On 16 July she and three others guilty of the same heresy were brought to the stake in Smithfield, she being so weak from the torture she had already undergone that she had to be carried in a chair. She was tied to the stake by a chain round the waist which supported her body. On a bench under St. Bartholomew's Church sat Lord Chancellor Wriothesley, the Dukes of Norfolk and Bedford, the lord mayor, and others, to witness the shameful tragedy; and, to complete the matter. Dr. Shaxton, who had so recently recanted the same heresy, was appointed to preach to the victims. Anne still preserved her marvellous self-possession, and made passing comments on the preacher's words, confirming them where she agreed with him, and at other times saying 'There he misseth and speaketh without the book.' After the sermon the martyrs began to pray. The titled spectators on the bench were more discomposed, knowing that there was some gunpowder near the faggots, which they feared might send them flying about their ears. But the Earl of Bedford reassured them. The gunpowder was not under the faggots, but laid about the bodies of the victims to rid them the sooner of their pain. Finally Lord Chancellor Wriothesley sent Anne Askew letters with an assurance of the king's pardon if she would even now recant. She refused to look at them, saying she came not thither to deny her Master. A like refusal was made by the other sufferers. The lord mayor then cried out 'Fiat justitia!' and ordered the fire to be laid to the faggots. Soon afterwards all was over. Anne is said by Bale to have been twenty-five years old when she suffered. She must therefore have been born in the year 1521.
  • There cannot be a doubt that the memory of this woman's sufferings and of her extraordinary fortitude and heroism added strength to the protestant reaction under Edward VI. The account of her martyrdom published by Bale in Germany, Strype tells us, was publicly exposed to sale at Winchester in 1549, in reproach of Bishop Gardiner, who was believed (whether justly or not is another question) to have been a great cause of her death. 'Four of these books,' says Strype (Memorials of Cranmer, 294), 'came to that bishop's own eyes, being then at Winchester; they had leaves put in as additions to the book, some glued and some unglued, which probably contained some further intelligences that the author had gathered since his first writing of the book. And herein some reflections were made freely, according to Bale's talent, upon some of the court, not sparing Paget himself, though then secretary of state.' We ought certainly to make some allowance for bias in testimony that could be manipulated after such a fashion, but we need not be sparing in sympathy for the devoted sufferer.
  • [Bale's two tracts, viz. 'The First Examinacyon of Anne Askewe,' and 'The Lattre Examinacyon,' both printed at Marburg in Hesse, the former in November 1546, the second in January 1547. The contents of the second, Bale says, he 'received in copy by certain Dutch merchants coming from thence,' who had been present at her execution. Bale's Scriptores; Foxe's Acts and Monuments; Strype's Eccl. Memorials, I. i. 598; Wriothesley's Chronicle (Camden Soc.).]
  • From:,_Anne_(DNB00)


  • Anne Ayscough Kyme
  • Birth: unknown
  • Death: Jul. 16, 1546 Smithfield, Greater London, England
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • William Ayscough (____ - 1540)
  • Siblings:
  • Jane Ayscough Disney (____ - 1590)*
  • Edward Ayscough (____ - 1558)*
  • Anne Ayscough Kyme (____ - 1546)
  • Francis Ascough (1508 - 1564)*
  • Burial: Non-Cemetery Burial
  • Specifically: For her religious principles, she was committed to the Tower, subjected to the rack, and burnt at Smithfield.
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 140845924
  • From:


  • ANNE ASKEW (c.1521-July 16, 1546)
  • Anne Askew was the daughter of Sir William Askew of Stallingborough, Lincolnshire (d.1541) and Elizabeth Wrottesley. She is unlikely ever to have been a maid of honor to Queen Katherine Parr, as some accounts claim. Anne married in 1536. Katherine did not become queen until 1543. Anne’s husband, Thomas Kyme of Friskney, had been betrothed to Anne’s sister, Martha. After Martha’s death, the younger sister was substituted for the older one. After giving birth to two children, Anne’s Zwinglian convictions led to disputes with the clergymen of Lincoln and eventually to her eviction from Kyme’s house in December, 1544. Anne borrowed money from one of her brothers and set out for London with a maidservant. She was arrested there for heresy but acquitted in June, 1545. Arrested a second time in 1546, she was tortured and finally burnt at the stake. Biography: see portions of Derek Wilson’s Tudor Tapestry; Oxford DNB entry under "Askew [married name Kyme], Anne." Portraits: the portrait by Hans Eworth labeled “Anne Ayscough” was not painted until 1560 and is probably Anne Clinton Askew.
  • From:


  • ASKEW (AYSCOUGH), Sir William (by 1486-1540), of Nuthall, Notts. and Stallingborough, Lincs.
  • b. by 1486, 1st s. of Sir William Askew of Stallingborough by 1st w. Margery, da. of Sir Robert Hilliard of Winestead, Yorks. m. (1) by 1508, Elizabeth (d.1521), da. of Thomas Wrottesley of Wrottesley, Staffs., 2s. 3da.; (2) da. of one Struxley or Streichley of Notts., s.p.; (3) settlement 2 May 1522, Elizabeth (d.1550), da. of John Hutton of Tudhoe, co. Dur., wid. of Sir William Hansard of South Kelsey, Lincs., 2s. suc. fa. 26 Mar. 1510. Kntd. 24 Sept. 1513.1
  • Offices Held
    • J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1510-d.; commr. Subsidy 1512, 1515, 1523, 1524. musters 1539; sheriff, Lincs. 1520-1; other commissions 1530-d.2
  • Sir William Askew is best remembered as the father of Anne Askew, the Protestant martyr burned in 1546, whose resolute disposition, great learning and doctrinal radicalism all reflect her parentage and upbringing.3
  • .... etc.
  • To what extent Askew shared his daughter Anne’s radicalism is not known. The traditional story—if it is to be accepted—of her marriage to her dead sister’s husband-to-be, in obedience to her father’s will but against her own, is not suggestive of a close bond between them, and she perhaps arrived at her final convictions only after his death. .... etc.
  • From:


  • William Askew (also spelled Ascough) (1490–1541) was a gentleman at the court of Henry VIII of England. He has gone down in history as one of the jurors in the trial of Anne Boleyn and as the father of Anne Askew, the only woman to be tortured at the Tower of London.
  • Askew is described as a welcome guest in Mary's household in 1536[1], indicating that he was a religious conservative. He is said to have physically forced his daughter, Anne Askew, to marry Thomas Kyme. Her repudiation of this marriage and her disbelief in the doctrine of transubstantiation led to her torture and execution, burnt at the stake in 1546. Her accusers attempted to implicate influential women at court as sharing Anne's beliefs, including the queen, Catherine Parr. William Askew died in 1541, five years before his daughter's execution.
  • From:


  • Lincolnshire pedigrees, Volume 1; Volume 50 By Arthur Staunton Larken
    • CHART
  • Pg. 60
  • 1 Gen. Sir William Ayscough of Stallingborough, Lincoln, Knt., Sheriff of Lincoln 1500, 1505, 1508; died 26 Mar 1 Henry VIII., 1509. M.I. at Stallingborough. mar. Margery, dau. of Sir Robert Hildyard of Winestead, Yorks, Knt. ch: Sir William Ayscough of Stallingborough; etc.
  • Pg. 61
  • 2 Gen. Sir William Ayscough of Stallingborough, knighted in 1513; eat. 24 in 2 Henry VIII.; Sheriff of Lincoln 1521. Will dated 6 Aug. 1540 and proved 28 May 1541; (to be) bur. in our lady's quire. mar. Elizabeth dau. of Thomas Wrottesley of Wrottesly, Stafford. 1st wife. ch: Martha, elder dau., betrothed to Thomas Kyme, but died before marriage.; Jane, mar. 1st to George St. Paul of Suarford, 2nd to Richard Disney of Norton Disney, and bur. at South Kelsey, St. Mary, 27 Dec. 1590.; Anne, mar. to Thomas Kyme. For her religious principles, which she persistently and openly declared, she was committed to the Tower, subjected to the rack, and burnt at Smithfield 16 July 1546.; Edward Ayscough, Cup-Bearer to King Henry VIII., was of the household to Archbishop Cranmer, and one of the band of Gentlemen Pensioners at the Battle of Musselborough 10 Sept. 1547; a legatee of his father 6 Aug. 1540; died 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, April 1558; bur. at Keleby. mar. Margaret, dau. of Thomas Gibson .... wid. of George Skipwith ....; Sir Francis Ayscough, Knt., born in 1508-18; Sir William mar. .... dau. of .... Struxley or Streichley of Nottinghamshire; s.p. 2nd wife. Sir William mar. Elizabeth, dau. of John Hutton of Tudhoe, co. Durham, and widow of Sir William Hansard; ex'trix of her said husband 28 May 1541; bur. at St. Martin's, Lincoln, 12 May 1550. Will dated 10 May and proved 29 June 1550. 3rd wife. ch: Christopher Ayscough, living 6 Aug. 1540.; Thomas Ayscough, not mentioned 1540.
  • .... etc.


  • .... Notable Ainscoughs
  • 1. William Ayscough (or William Aiscough) (?-d.1450), Bishop of Salisbury and Confessor to King Henry VI - of the Bedale/ Lincolnshire Ayscough line. He was nominated on February 11, 1438 and consecrated on July 20, 1438. “Many of his tenants intending to joyne with Jack Cade, came to Edendon, took him from masse and drew him-to ye top of a hill, where they cleft his head as he kneeled and prayed, not farre fro Edendon and spoyl’d him to ye skin June ye 29, 1450.”
  • 2. Anne Askew (Ayscough) Kyme (1521–1546), English Protestant and persecuted heretic, daughter of Sir William of Stallingborough, Lincolnshire. In 1546 Anne was arrested three times for heresy, committed to the Tower, subjected to the rack, and burnt at Smithfield 16 July 1546.
  • .... etc.
  • Lincolnshire Ayscoughs ( also known as Askews)
  • The following theory was put forward by researchers in the 1970s and although interesting seems unlikely, since earlier evidence has been found showing Ainscoughs existed in Lancashire prior to a possible migration from Lincolnshire.
  • The Lincolnshire Ayscough family originated from Bedale and owned estates around Stallingborough, Ashby, South Kelsey, Basford, Nuttall and Spalding. Ayscoughfee Hall, now a preserved manor house in Spalding, was originally built by the rich wool merchant, Richard Alwyn in 1420 and then it was owned by the Lincolnshire Ayscough family in the early part of the 16th Century. The grant of land at Spalding was made to Sir William Ayscough (b.1490-d.1541) by Henry VIII. E.H. Gooch writes about "Ayscoughfee Hall" in his book "The History of Spalding", 1940.
  • In the 15th Century the Ayscoughs had supported the Lancastrian side during the Wars of the Roses and later held posts at the Courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Sir William Askew of Stallingborough was knighted in 1513 during the reign of Henry VIII, his eldest son Sir Francis Ayscough was knighted "at the wining of Boulogne" and was Sheriff of Lincoln in 1545, 1549 and 1554. He died in 1564 and is buried at St Mary's Church, South Kelsey, Lincolnshire. Sir William's youngest son Edward Ayscough (d.1558) was cup-bearer to Henry VIII from 1539-1547. Anne Askew (Ayscough) Kyme (1521–1546), the English Protestant and persecuted heretic was also the daughter of Sir William. Unfortunately for Anne her zealousness led to her execution and she was burned at the stake for heresy in 1546. Reluctantly, the Ayscough family got caught up in the Lincolnshire Rising in 1536, a Catholic uprising against Henry VIII of England, against the dissolution of the monasteries. Sir William had ridden to Louth to keep the peace and uphold the law but instead found himself taken 'prisoner' by the rebels and was expected to represent their cause. Following this the Ayscough family fell out of favour with Henry VIII. However, Sir Francis continued to prosper by his own volition taking every opportunity to acquire land and so add to his estates. He died a convinced Protestant, clearly shown by the wording of his will. It is claimed (evidence required) that over the period which followed many of the Lincolnshire Ayscough family lost their estates, they migrated west to Lancashire, where they settled in the area around Mawdesley, near Croston, bleak wastes in the 16thC, as Farmers and Millers. However it does not seem possible to find specific evidence for this link, and without evidence the Lincolnshire origin seems increasingly tenuous. Researchers are requested to continue to investigate.


Anne Ayscough Kyme (Askew) was the only female ever to be tortured on the rack in the Tower of London, where she was tried for her beliefs, and publicly burned tied to a chair on a huge bonfire in July 1546.

PARENTS Sir William Ayscough b. 1497 -d. 1541 of Stallingborough m. Elizabeth Wrottesley.




view all

Anne Askew, Martyr's Timeline

July 1521
South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, England
Age 14
England, United Kingdom
Age 20
South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, England
July 16, 1546
Age 25
London, Greater London, UK
England, United Kingdom