I wonder if she hesitated before lifting the cover. I wonder if she began at the beginning, or turned to a particular page, and if so, which one? I wonder what emotions she felt as she read for the first time the words of God from an English Bible.
I wonder if she knew at that moment that the simple act of reading a book would lead to her death?
Events unfolded quickly—
She was arrested for “gospelizing” — telling other people what she read.
She was questioned several times by state and church authorities who challenged her to recant when her teaching did not conform to the traditional doctrines of the church. She answered their questions with quotes from the Bible.
She was taken to the Tower of London and tortured on the rack to force her to reveal the identities of the persons who gave her the Bible. She didn’t. Twice she fainted. Twice she was revived. (Anne is the only woman on record who was tortured in the Tower of London.)
She was taken to her execution in a chair because she couldn’t walk, chained to a pole to hold her up. She was presented with a pardon. All she had to do was admit she’d committed heresy. She refused it.
On July 16, 1545 Anne Akskew was burned at the stake. As one man described her death, “She went to heaven in a chariot of fire”
She was 25-years-old.
So inspired were people by her courageous stand, ballads were sung of her. The Bleets company in London produced an Anne Askew doll complete with rack and stake.
So inspired was I by this young woman’s dedication to God and the Bible, I wrote two novels portraying the dangers faced by men and women like her to read and distribute the Bible in English — Glimpses of Truth and Beyond the Sacred Page.
I dedicated Glimpses of Truth to Anne Askew.
You can read more about these novels, click here.
One last thing — I found an inspiring video on YouTube depicting Anne’s courageous stand and wanted to share it with you. To watch it, click here.
STRENGTH FOR THE QUEST
Because Life Is More Than A Journey