Mother Shipton

Mother Shipton was a sixteenth-century Yorkshire seer who supposedly made a number of startlingly accurate predictions. However, it is uncertain whether she actually existed, and many of the predictions attributed to her are outright hoaxes.

The first extant reference to her is found in a booklet, The Propheceyes of Mother Shipton, published in 1641, eighty years after she was said to have died. This work claimed she had accurately predicted the deaths of a number of her contemporaries such as Cardinal Wolsey. However, there are no written references to her, or her predictions, during her own lifetime.

Other works about Mother Shipton subsequently appeared, and with each work new prophecies were credited to her. However, all the prophecies were backdated prophecies (i.e. prophecies which described events that had already occurred).

Mother Shipton's most famous prophecy was that, "The world to an end shall come / In eighteen hundred and eighty-one."

These lines circulated widely throughout England as 1881 approached and caused great popular concern. However, this prophecy was actually the work of a Brighton bookseller, Charles Hindley, who in 1862 had published what he claimed to be a reprint of a 1684 biography of Mother Shipton. To make the biography seem more relevant to nineteenth-century audiences, Hindley had inserted some new verses of his own creation into the book. Some of the other verses Hindley wrote made it seem as if Mother Shipton had accurately predicted the invention of technologies such as the railway, telegraph, submarines, and hot-air balloons.


'Mother Shiopton's prophecies are hoaxes'
Can you prove that catagorically in order to make such a statment, without using words like, apparently and seemingly?

The first known compilation of her life and prophecies was printed in 1641, 80 years after her death, so? Why does that make it a hoax?
How long after the death of Christ was the Bible written, about 500 years?
'Not heard of outside Yorkshire'?
There are references to her from all parts of England, London,Portsmouth, Somerset, Wales, Norfolk.
There are Yorkshire historians who have researched tirelessly to prove she didn't exist, they have concluded that indeed she must have but are unable to confirm the authenticity of her prophecies.
It's easy to question the accuracy of events and prophecies that took place so long ago.
That does not make it a hoax.
Making a potentially damaging statment without proof is liabless.
Do you have proof or just opinions in which case I recommend you change the wording of your website.
Certainly on this occasion, you are the hoaxers.
stating as fact that which is not, and which you have no proof.
Perhaps you could let me have the name of the Directors of your 'museum' and address to pass on to my lawyers.
Adrian Sayers - Owner, Moither Shipton's Cave
Posted by Adrian Sayers  on  Fri Oct 22, 2004  at  10:46 AM
Oh dear! I just read Adrian Sayers remarks, and I have to say they rather make me dispair.
He misses a major point. If he wishes to maintain that "Mother Shipton" was an historical figure, it is for him to prove that this is the case, not the other way round. I can easliy invent "historical" characters - does that mean they exist? No, of course it doesn't.
Mother Shipton was the invention of one of the many writers of prophecies that flourished from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. And I fear that then, as now, truth gives way to greed, and a good story is more important than honesty.
Remember, if you make extraordinary claims, you'd better have extraordinary evidence to support it. And the story of Mother Shipton is extraordinary. And how much proof is there for her existence? As far as I am aware, none.
Another point - if Shipton's prophecies are genuine, how come there are different versions?
Hm. Enough time wasted on this subject, I think.
Posted by Simon Walker  on  Mon Dec 13, 2004  at  11:48 AM
In reponse to Simon Walkers self righteous nonsense;
If he can invent a historical character like Mother Shipton then he must also write 50 books under different names spanning five centuries.
I can't prove she existed, but historical evidence and the weight of probability is that she did, her name was recorded even in Samuel Pepys' diaries. Of course her story and her prophecies have been embelished over the years, but that doesn't make her a hoax or a deceiver, or come to that me either as Simon is suggesting.
According to Simon Walker's criteria, Jesus can't have existed and the Bible must be a hoax.
Its all to easy on the internet to anonomously make spurious allegations. I am still waiting for the names and addresses of the creaters of this liabless rubbish.
I assume Simon that you are connected to 'the museum' poking fun at things in order to make a living is sad but harmless, but be careful lest you go too far.
Posted by adrian Sayers  on  Sat Mar 12, 2005  at  09:06 AM
Here is one of the many sources debunking the Mother Shipley hoax:
This site is anti-prophecy and anti-Christian, but they seem to have done their homework.
Here is another, quite extensive:

In regard to the analogy of the Bible being compiled long after the fact, the original New Testament documents were being circulated, copied and kept as references up until the time the Bible was codified. The Old Testament accounts were being shared by an entire race of people, each person acting as a check on the veracity of all the others. Then all the accounts were codified and carefully preserved with a system of strict checks. All the documents, as far as I can see, touting Mother Shipman's prophecies have been put together after the fact, and the incidents of fraud found out and recorded.

Mother Shipman's history and written record is almost as solid as that concerning the legend of King Arthur, and that's not too solid.

I'm not a registered member and you don't say where to type in the "word you see below" as I am instructed to do. I see the word Smileys and have typed it in this sentence. I hope this posts.

Have a good day.
Posted by John Davis  on  Sun Jul 03, 2005  at  06:50 PM
Can I recommed Knaresborough historian Arnold Kellett's Mother Shipton Witch and Prophetess, available from at about
Posted by OR  on  Sun Aug 14, 2005  at  06:24 PM
You are misrepresenting Mother Shipton with that "Most Famous" prediction - that she never wrote!! It was written by some 19th century crankster, who admitted after 1881, that he had in fact altered the writings of Mother Shipton as a joke.

Mother Shipton's scroll was copied approximately 80 years after her death. It does talk about the thoughts flying round the world, horseless carriages, iron ships, etc. This document is owned by the New South Wales library, in Australia.
Posted by KJordan  on  Fri Feb 17, 2006  at  04:17 PM
I love Mother Shipton, and am very grateful for the response put up by her descendant. I do believe she had this gift, at had it so keenly and accurately, I think we must respect her foresight. For those who don't, fine. I am a skeptic, too, but she has passed my test.

I don't know if you'll ever read this, but thank you, Peta Ennis. It is good to know the common information about her is not true. The legend of her as a devilish hag struck me as the trumped up fiction of someone who resented her Divine gift. Thank You!
Posted by Michael Johnson  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  07:00 PM
Re. Peta Ennis' remarks, I really can't see how these family legends of decent from Mother Shipton (and a gold ring with braided hair around it that was hers etc) prove anything, charming as they might be. I'm not sure what family tree you are referring to, as I don't recall any mention of such in the Arnold Kellett book I referred to (a well-known and respected Knaresborough local historian - former Knaresborough mayor, retired teacher from the local school, one-time winner of the Yorkshire History Prize and 10-years editor of the Yorkshire Dialect Journal etc). I think people should just accept that sometimes we don't have a lot of information about the real biographies of characters like this, and sometimes we can't even be sure they existed. But, for example as with Robin Hood, being honest about that doesn't mean the stories aren't fun and fascinating local folklore. I think that, for example the Mother Shipton's Cave people should tell visitors the facts - as well as the folklore - instead of making out that the legendary biography is all unquestioned fact, as they did when I last went (Shipton was born in and later lived in their cave and became a famous prophetess predicting cars and telecommunications etc). I don't see it would matter. A Robin Hood exhibit I saw in Shrwood Forest last year took that approach. Then people can be well-informed as well as entertained.
Posted by OR  on  Fri Sep 21, 2007  at  06:21 PM
I must agree with OR in France. This whole comment thread dating back 3 years has one message after another building their case on someone else's emails! This illustrates a much larger (and possibly serious) problem that the internet has created: the obfuscation of facts by the sheer volume of everyone else's opinion. In the early 90s when the internet was new, there used to be deprecating jokes: "well it MUST be true if you read it on the INTERNET!" Now that a generation has grown up on the internet, sadly that old joke seems to have become a truism. I wish believers of whatever ilk would not be so sensitive to critical thinking - we need it now more than ever!
Posted by Larry K.  on  Sun Sep 30, 2007  at  09:43 AM
I'm a christian and based on my own personal expierences I whole heartedly believe those poems of prophecy. I don't know if she wrote them or not. What I do know is what I've seen myself. It seems to me that who ever wrote these things were one of many individuals who had the priviledge to see certain things. What the people do with that information is up to them. That's why we were born with free will after all. I'm just glad in knowing everone gets what they deserve and nobody escapse through death.
Posted by richard perez  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  01:36 PM
If anyone were to visit Mother Shipton's Cave in Knaresborough, there's plenty of information available on her. I'm inclined to believe in this sort of 'nonsense', but hey, each to their own and all that.
It makes for a pleasant day out, if nothing else!
Posted by Believer  on  Wed Jan 16, 2008  at  07:24 AM
So, if this is a hoax then the prophecy must have been written just 80 years ago, since whomEVER wrote it was so amazingly dead on about iron ships, and planes, social conditions and China and Russia.

I mean, there is no way it was written after it happened. It's just happening NOW.
Posted by Michelle  on  Fri Jun 13, 2008  at  08:27 PM
I usppose a lot of it depends on wether or not you believe in this sort of ting. Regarding Peta Ennis's remarks - thank you. And that was a very interesting read.

I've been to the well in Knaresbrough, and into the cave. And having the Sight myself(though I can sense things, rather than see them like Mother Shipton did) I took the time to just spend some time quietly in the cave. I was the only one there, and I DID get a sense of a woman in the cave with me. And I'm pleased Peta wrote that response, particularly regarding her looks, because I didn't get the sense of a hunchback, but of a strong-willed, attractive woman, who very clearly had the Sight. Debunk this if you wish, but it is what I believe. And it is what many others believe. Why else are there always offerings of flowers around her statue? I'm going back tomorrow for my birthday, and I'll be taking a little offering of my own for her.
Posted by Averil White  on  Mon Jun 23, 2008  at  04:31 PM
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.
Posted by tabbitha patchett  on  Sat Oct 18, 2008  at  02:03 AM
I am sure that there's plenty of scope for forgeries of Mother Shipton's prophecies--however. If the latest forgery was 1881, the forger was pretty prescient himself--

"Three times shall lovely sunny France
be led to play a bloody dance.
Before the people shall be free
three tyrant rulers shall she see.

Three rulers in succession be
each springs from different dynasty.
Then when the fiercest strife is done.
England and France shall be as one."

France has had plenty of Tyrants, but the only alliance England has had with France since 1588 was in 1914. To be 'as one' we would have to look at the Treaty of Rome, to which England (Britain) only joined in 1973. the next lines confirm that:-

The British olive shall next then twine,
in marriage with a German vine.

Then there is:-

"For in those wondrous far off days,
the women shall adopt a craze
to dress like men, and trousers wear
and to cut off their locks of hair.

They'll ride astride with brazen brow,
as witches do on broomsticks now. "

This is the 1920s at the earliest and more likely the 1960s onwards.


"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."

So the 1881 forger predicted television, submarines and aircraft did he? Better than Shipton herself!

"They'll be a sign for all to see
be sure that it will certain be.
Then love shall die and marriage cease
and nations wane as babes decrease."

European populations were still exploding in 1881 and despite two world wars did not level off until around 1950. The big drop in fertility hit Eastern Europe in the 1970s and Western Europe from the 1980s. In the year 2009 it was announced that less than half of British adults were in a conventional married relationship.

You can twist Nostradamus every which way, but Mother Shipton is too near the mark.
Posted by T Hill  on  Sun Jan 25, 2009  at  04:07 PM
Even if it wasn't Mother Shipton that wrote the prophecy's then someone has still got it all very right. How could someone who lived many years before the 20th century have predicted the second world war. How could they have predicted Nazi Germany was planning in 1926? or even predicted that 'pictures would come alive with movements free'?
Maybe the person who wrote the (very accurate) prophecy's didn't want to be named... we can never know who wrote them but everything mentioned has happened so far.
Rather than debating over who wrote them we should be thinking about how the 'fiery dragon' is going to effect us in the near future.
Posted by Melissa Parnell  on  Wed May 20, 2009  at  04:35 PM
as to the "fiery dragon" post: and also the "dragon's tail" is likely referring to an asteroid -

"A fiery dragon will cross the sky
six times before the earth shall die.
Mankind will tremble and frightened be
for the six heralds in this prophecy.
For seven days and seven nights
man will watch this awesome sight."

"And when the dragon's tail is gone
man forgets and smiles and carries on."

"His masked smile, his false grandeur,
will serve the gods their anger stir
and they will send the dragon back
to light the sky - his tail will crack.
Upon the earth and rend the earth
and man shall flee, king, lord and serf."

The only current known future possibility that fits this decription is the Astroid commonly known as "Apophis" which will travel very near earth in 2028/2029 and has a (currently) 1 in 450 chance of hitting earth... but will return again in 2036 (and have a much higher likelihood of collision at that time)~
Posted by Mysty  on  Tue Sep 08, 2009  at  02:43 PM
I first had knowledge of Mother Shipton from a Pears Cyclopedia printed in 1897 . Many of the events predicted happened after that time . I t infuriates me to see so many intelectuals (self professed) make statements which common sense and fact can prove wrong . She predicted the calamities besetting our earth to happen after the change of the century .
Perhaps the global warming presently predicted can be explained as a nonsense, when so many unscientific supporters cannot produce adequate scintific proof that it is indeed happening . The fact that Prof. X or Dr. y says an event is / or will happen; is not scientific proof .
Posted by malcolm rollinson  on  Sun Sep 27, 2009  at  07:44 PM
Having a complete copy of the prophecies does help in my opinion ( to whether or not She was a fake or real person. Either way you lean to, we are dealing with a very good prophet, that prettly accuratly described future events ... and this person gave a very clear description of the theory on Geographic Pole Shift & how mant times Nibiru has orbited and what will happen to the Earth on its 6TH orbit in 5612
Posted by Amy Evans  on  Wed Oct 13, 2010  at  03:18 PM
If you are one of the people that want's to say Mother shipton is a fake then maybe you should at least learn to spell. You can't say it is real or it is not real. However, evidence that says Mother Shipton was real is strong. If you have been to the cave where she was born you would see that it all makes sense. You people should reconnect with you soul and listen to it. People just don't want to belive the prophecies are real because they predit things like the end of the world. Besides if you have read her last prophecy and have a brain you would realise that it has started to happen, makes sense and all the dates match up.
Posted by Emily  on  Sat Oct 30, 2010  at  08:28 AM
To Emily: "Wants" not "want's". "Reconnect with your soul" not "reconnect with you soul". "Believe" not "belive". "Predict" not "predit". How dare you comment on anyone about spelling.
Posted by iq145  on  Sun Oct 31, 2010  at  05:52 PM
I am glad to see that a number of people do believe that Mother Shipton was real, and did write the prophecies she is credited with.
Posted by Amy Evans  on  Mon Nov 08, 2010  at  10:59 AM
I copied the 12 verses of Mother Shiptons rhymes fom a Pears Cyclapedia published (From Memory ) in , or about 1881 or shortly there after . 20 or more predictions made in those verses occured during the following century and what is happening now was told in the final verse .
Posted by malcolm rollinson  on  Fri May 27, 2011  at  12:47 AM
I recently read a book that says her prophesy states;

'To an end the world shall come,
In the year two thousand and sixty one.'

Given climate change, the vanishing bee population and modern warfare, I can believe this, if it is Ursula's prediction or not.

And the reference to witches riding broomsticks is a sexual one, well known to those in the Pagan community. A great deal of healing and psychic work revolves around psychology, I choose to believe she was an attractive, intelligent woman -likely subject to jealousy and slander.

The book I have is The giant book of strange but true, mysterious and bizarre people by Thomas Slemen, Parragon 1998 (it has an interesting chapter calling Edgar Allen Poe a murderer)
Posted by Volk B  on  Mon May 30, 2016  at  04:08 AM
As to the existence of Mother Shipton. It has been handed down, and talked about through my mothers side of the family from generation to generation that we were related to Mother Shipton. Alice Nutter the Pendle Witch was a family member and also related to Mother Shipton. The gifts of clairvoyance and prophecies seem only to develop through the female members of our family. So she did exist!
I have the gifts too and Mother Shipton is one of my guides. She confirmed to me that she did prophecise all that what was written. Except she never said the end of time.
She also said thats she had the sickness polio and early stages of osteoporosis, hence the hunched back. She had a large nose but no warts or pimples.
Do not be quick to say I am a nut job and imagine such things. You can believe or not. She did exist.
Thank you her family member.
Catherine Barnes
Posted by Catherine Barnes  on  Thu Oct 19, 2017  at  12:46 PM