Anne Locke – An Influential Woman of the English Reformation
|Several of the sonnets from Locke's A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner in a 1560 edition that does not attribute the sequence to her. (Wikipedia)|
In spite the scarcity of information about her life, Anne’s influence was obvious not only in Knox’s life, but in the overall progress of the English Reformation. Born to a wealthy family of London around 1530, she received an extensive education. Her mother Margaret died when Anne was 14, and her father Stephen Vaughan remarried.
Vaughan’s second wife Margery was the widow of Henry Brinklow, a polemicist who had promoted a stronger abolition of Roman Catholicism in England and might have influenced Anne with some of these ideas.
In 1549, Anne married Henry Locke, a dealer in fabrics and lover of learning. We don’t know much about Henry’s religious convictions, but Knox, who was freed from the French galleys the same year, was a frequent guest in their house.
Apparently, Knox remained in close communication with Anne. Thirteen of his letters to her survive, and there were probably more. Anne was one of the close friends who gave him comfort when he was evicted from Frankfurt, partially on account of a disparaging comment on Emperor Charles V (comparing him to Nero).