While the Elizabethan age produced many great names in history, it produced a remarkable woman who was regarded as a witch. She was Mother Shifton who was born in the reign of Henry VIII and died in 1559 during the reign of Elizabeth I. She was born in Yorkshire, July 1448. She was an English Seer and Prophetess who made some remarkable and accurate prophecies. The advent of motor cars - planes - wireless - submarines and the discovery of gold in Australia was unknown.
The following is a fair summary of her most extraordinary powers of divination:
The world upside down, will be
And gold shall be found at the root of a tree
Through the hills man shall ride
And no horse be at her side
Under water men shall walk, sleep, talk as seen
In white in black in green
Iron in water shall float
As easily as a wooden boat
Gold shall be found and shown
In a land that is not known.
Fire and water shall wonders do
And England shall admit a foe
Woman shall get a strange old craze
to dress like men and britches wear.
And cut off their beautiful locks of hair.
And ride astride with brazen brow
As witches do on broomsticks now
Love shall die and marriage cease
Ane babies and sucklings so decrease
That wives shall fondle cats and dogs
and men live much the same as hogs."
Letter to Editor
On page 7 of Issue 164 you printed a piece "Prophecies of Mother Shipton." Mother Shipton was certainly a famous prophet of her time and her work was first put in print 1641. After that time people attributed all manner of prophecies to her. In the 1800's publishers put out new editions containing many predictions that Mother Shipton never made. The poem you published is based on a poem that was created and written in 1862 by a Charles Hindley to promote an edition of Mother Shipton's "work" that he was then printing and selling. Six other books alleging to be her prophecies were published in the 1860's alone. Mother Shipton herself said none of the things in the poem. She came from Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Her first correct prophecy was that Cardinal Woolsey would never visit York. She also prophesied that the steeple of trinity Church in York would be blown down in a tempest.
P.S. My interest in her comes from the fact that one of my heroes, Blind Jack Metcalf, also came from Knaresborough.
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