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Mother Shipton’s Cave

Just down the road from Nidd Hall is England’s oldest visitor attraction. Set in woodland along the River Nidd is Mother Shipton’s Cave. Here Mother Shipton was born as Ursula Southeil in 1488. One of the most famous mystical women in history of England was born in this very cave. Her mother was Agatha Southeil, who was only 15 years old when she gave birth to Ursula. Ursula was reputedly born very ugly and grotesquely deformed.

Mother Shipton’s

Mother Shipton’s

It was said by the people who lived locally that Ursula (Mother Shipton) was a daughter of the Devil. For the first two years of Ursula’s life her mother raised her in that cave. But then her mother (Agatha) went to a nunnery and Ursula was allegedly taken in by a local family.

Mother Shipton the Witch

Mother Shipton the Witch

Mother Shipton was thought to be a Witch and she practiced her craft in the cave.

Mother Shipton Life

Mother Shipton Life

Mother Shipton, Ursula finally married Toby Shipton, a local carpenter, in 1512. Locals said that she may have used a love potion to bring about the marriage. Although they didn't have children, they stayed together without any scandals. Toby seemed to accept and understand the “witchy” instincts of his wife. He was proud of her unusual skills to see the future as well.

Mother Shipton’s Prophecies

Mother Shipton’s Prophecies

Mother Shipton lived in the time of Henry VIII of England and predicted his victory over France in 1513 in the Battle of the Spurs. As well as the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is recorded in the diaries of Samuel Pepys that whilst surveying the damage to London caused by the Great Fire, in the company of the Royal Family, they were heard to discuss Mother Shipton's prophecy of the event.

Pateley Bridge Nidderdale Museum

Poem

“Carriages without horses shall goe,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Around the world thoughts shall fly
In the twinkling of an eye....
Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride, shall sleep and talk;
In the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black and in green....
Iron in the water shall float,
As easy as a wooden boat.”

Mother Shipton Cave

Mother Shipton Cave

Ever since 1630, people have visited this site believing that witchcraft was at work at the well. Teddy bears, hats, socks, and many other items have been placed in the water and “magically” turned to “stone” within three to five months. The bizarre process is now known to be due to evaporation and an unusually high mineral content in the water.

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