Mother Shipton – 13th Century British Soothsayer

Ursula Southeil was born in July 1488, in a cave near Knaresborough, after her mother had been banned from giving birth in the village. Ursula’s mother had been unwed and refused to tell a magistrate the name of the child’s father, giving up her baby for adoption before her second birthday. Ursula began to prophesize at an early age and, like Nostradamus, avoided detection by writing her predictions in the form of verses. The first publication of her prophesies was published 80 years after her death in 1641. Many of her predictions have already come true including:

  • The dissolution of the church in the reign of Henry VIII.
  • The fall of Cardinal Wolsey.
  • The premature death of Henry, Edward VI’s son.
  • The rise of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne and the plague of 1665.
  • The London fire of 1666.

Many of them also centred around her birth country, and her most famous prophecies were written in an epic poem in 1559. Examples of the verses that she wrote include:

Around the world men’s thoughts will fly,
Quick as the twinkling of an eye,
And water shall great wonders do,
How strange and yet it shall come true.

This is a possible prediction of the internet, radio and telephone combined. There have also been many inventions that harness the power of water, including using waterfalls for hydroelectric power.

In water iron then shall float
As easily as a wooden boat.
Gold shall be seen in stream and stone,
In a land that is yet unknown.

These have been determined to be descriptions of ships made of iron and steel and the events that surrounded the Californian Gold Rush.

Mother Shipton’s predictions have been compared with those in the Bible, as well as being like Nostradamus’. A series of her verses predicts the events of Armageddon, as described in the book of Revelations. Civilisation as we know it will be destroyed, with a new one rising from the ashes.

For storms will rage and oceans roar
When Gabriel stands on sea and shore,
And as he blows his wondrous horn
Old worlds die and new be born.

Nostradamus predicted many wars which Mother Shipton has verified in her verses, as well as natural disasters to aid in the destruction.

Man flees in terror from the floods
And kills, and rapes and lies in blood
And spilling blood by mankind’s hand
Will stain and bitter many lands.

These events will lead to a few survivors restarting a new life at the end of the destruction, predicted by the biblical phrase ‘The dead will come out of their graves.’ Those that have hidden away, will live to rebuild humanity.

And in some far-off distant land
Some men – Oh such a tiny band
Will have to leave their solid mount
And span the earth, those few to count.

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