Extraordinary Women of the Medieval and Renaissance World: A Biographical Dictionary

By Carole Levin; Debra Barrett-Graves et al. | Go to book overview

ANNE LOCKE
(1530-1590)

Britain
Puritan Writer and Scholar

Anne Locke was the daughter of a merchant and government agent who worked in the service of King Henry VIII. After the death of Anne's mother in 1545, her father, Stephen Vaughan, married the widow of a London mercer named Margery Brinklow. Anne's mother, stepmother, and father had decidedly Protestant leanings, and Protestant religious views were inculcated at home throughout Anne's earliest years. During the brief reign of Henry VIII's son, Edward VI ( 1547-1553), England was exposed to a wide range of Protestant influences. An English-language prayer book was introduced, and the sacraments were reduced to two, baptism and the Lord's Supper. In theory, the priesthood was no longer set apart from the laity; the Lutheran-inspired "priesthood of all believers" was advanced as clergy were now permitted to marry.

By the time of the young king's death in 1553, Protestantism had gained a large following, especially in London and the southeast more generally. Anne was taught to read and write, and although she received no formal education, she was familiar with Scripture and followed developments in reform theology quite closely. Sometime after her twentieth birthday, Anne married a neighbor and mercer by the name of Henry Locke. Her husband was also from a respected London family with a reputation for Protestantism. In 1553 the Scottish Protestant reformer John Knox ( 1513-1572) lived briefly in the Lockes' London home before the start of his exile on the Continent in the wake of the Catholic Queen Mary's accession after Edward VI's death.

Knox was clearly impressed by Anne's commitment to Protestant principles. From 1556 until 1562, he wrote thirteen letters to the pious Mrs. Locke. The earliest letters were sent from Geneva, and in them, Knox invites Anne to join his little band of Protestant saints in exile. England was now under a Roman Catholic monarch, and

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