Mother Shipton

In 1641, a pamphlet entitled Two strange PROPHECHIES was published, purporting to be the true predictions of  Mother Shipton, who, as a result, subsequently became renowned as a famed witch and prophetess. The prophecies were reprinted over the next two centuries, and by the end of the eighteenth century, Mother Shipton was a well-known figure in folklore; appearing in pantomimes and songs.  Charles Dickens kept interest in Mother Shipton alive by printing a story by Dudley Costello in which the famous witch foretold the end of the world in 1881.

To this day, in her supposed home town of Knaresborough near York, visitors can visit her ‘birthplace’, a cave near the Dropping Well. Evidence suggests that Mother Shipton is an entirely fictitious individual, the only evidence of her existence coming from the pamphlets themselves.

This is the first of her famous prophecies:

If Eighty eight be past, then thrive
Thou mayst, still thirty four, or five.
After the E is dead, a Scot
Shall governe there: and if a plot
prevent him not, sure then his sway
Continue shall till many a day.
The ninth shall dye young, and the first
perhaps shall reigne: but (oh) assurst
Shall be the time, when thou shalt see
To sixteene joyned twenty three;
For then the Eagle should have helpe
By Craft to catch the Lyons whelpe,
And hurt him sore; except the same
Be cured by the Maidens name.
In July month of the same yeere
Saturne conjoyned with Jupiter.
Perhaps false prophets shall arise,
And mohamet shall shew his prize.
And sure much alteration
Shall happen in Religion.
Beleeve this truly, if then you see,
A Spanyard a Protestant be.


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One comment

  • cailinos
    February 6, 2010 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    One of those historical characters one thinks one knows well..until a piece like this is written. I would definitely have conflated (..) this lady with Joanna Southcott, and been wrong about both anyway.Must read further…love those analyses of prophecies, explaining who is the lion’s whelp etc etc. Thank you

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