Mother Shipton – Prophetess and Cave Dweller



Reputed to be England’s answer to Nostradamus and some say far more accurate in her predictions, Mother Shipton was born in 1488 named Ursula Sontheil.  Ursula did not have the greatest start in life being raised by her teenage mother named Agatha.  Mother and daughter survived in a cave until the age of two at which point the Abbot of Beverly stepped in to offer a solution to their predicament.  The fifteen year old Agatha (Ursula’s mother) was taken to a nunnery to live out her days, never to see her daughter again.  Ursula was taken in by a local family to be raised as normally as possible.

Mother Shipton’s House

Imagine how difficult it is being a child or teenager in modern Britain even now with anti-bullying policies and cyber bullying awareness,  then try and imagine being a child in the fifteenth century.  Now give yourself a large crooked nose, bent back and twisted legs and you are now in the position of poor Ursula.  Taunted and laughed at by local villagers Ursula retreated to the cave where she was born and spent most of her time there studying herbs, flowers and mixing potions.

Ursula’s Cave

Happiness did shine briefly for Ursula in the form of a young carpenter named Tobias Shipton, they met and spent but a few years together before he unfortunately passed away, Ursula decided to take the name Shipton though, presumably out of love and respect.  After learning how to make potions and remedies from the forest around her, Ursula discovered that she had a gift, to predict the future, and the more she practised the better and more accurate she would become at doing so.  With a reputation developing in the local community, Ursula became known as a Prophetess, sharing her gift by warning those of dangers in their future.  Maybe Mother Shipton (as she became known) had managed to navigate the dangers appearing in her own future as she lived to the age of seventy three, a good age for the sixteenth century.


Perhaps the most interesting of Mother Shipton’s prophecies to have come to pass is that of her prediction of world war two (Some say world war one but misplaced time frame):

“In nineteen hundred and twenty-six, build houses light of straw and sticks.  For then shall mighty wars be planned and fire and swords shall sweep the land”
At the time predicted, Hitler was in the process of writing MEIN KAMPF.
“When pictures seem alive with movements free, when boats like fishes swim beneath the sea.  When men like birds shall scour the sky, then half the world, deep drenched in blood shall die.”
Television, Submarines, Aircraft and War.

Ursula also predicted the increasing greed in modern man and the use of the modern car:

“The signs will be there for all to read;
When man shall do most heinous deed Man will ruin kinder lives;
By taking them as to their wives.
And murder foul and brutal deed:
When man will only think of greed.
And man shall walk as if asleep;
He does not look – he may not peep And iron men the tail shall do;
And iron cart and carriage too.”

I personally think ‘men walk as if asleep’ could easily be connected to the use of mobile phones and audio devices, also a metaphor for media manipulation and propaganda.

There are may prophecies that Mother Shipton wrote that can be found and read online, you can also visit Ursula’s cave in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, UK.

Like it? Share with your friends!


With many years of paranormal experience I am forever on the lookout for new things. Not only The Haunted Discoveries Paranormal Magazine, we host UK Ghost Hunting Tours which you can find at

Comments 0

You may also like