Mother Shipton

Shipton, Mother, legendary English prophetess. She was first mentioned in an anonymous pamphlet, published in 1641, which described her as having prophesied various events of the reign of Henry VIII and later. She rapidly entered the folklore of English literature, her fame being increased by the great fire of London (1666), which she was also alleged to have predicted. A life by Richard Head was first published in 1667, and an anonymous pamphlet of 1686 purported to identify her as Ursula Shipton (1488–1561) of Knaresborough, Yorkshire. A new version of her life in 1862, with additional prophecies, was discovered to be a forgery.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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