Shipton, Mother (1488–1561)

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Shipton, Mother (1488–1561)

English witch and prophet. Name variations: Ursula Southill, Sonthiel or Southeil. Born Ursula Southiel in 1488, near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England; died 1561 in Clifton, Yorkshire, England; illeg. dau. of Agatha Southeil; m. Toy Shipton (carpenter), 1512.

Prophet whose visions and predictions gained notoriety in her day and beyond, is believed to have been born in a riverside cave, known as "The Petrifying Well," now a tourist attraction; was given to foster mother at age 2, while her own mother spent remainder of life in convent in Nottingham; rumored to have special powers from childhood, was said to have performed many acts of magic; provided herbal medicines and potions to community as well; said to have prophesied many events, such as the collapse of York's Trinity Church, deaths of prominent citizens, and the great fire of London (1666).