Saturday, June 02, 2012

June 2 is Mother Shipton's Day

Mother ShiptonMother Shipton's Day
On the dating of items in the Almanac

The Wednesday following Whitsunday, for reasons unknown to your almanackist, is said by some to go by this name. Mother Shipton, whose real name was the rather un-English-sounding Ursula Sontheil, was a celebrated soothsayer in Cambridge, England and the wife of Toby Shipton, a carpenter. To some, she is also the patron saint of women working in laundries. 
Ursula was born in a cave at Knaresborough, Yorkshire (where Guy Fawkes once lived) in 1488, in the reign of Henry VII just fifteen years before Nostradamus, in an era in which prophetic utterances were widely sought – and just as readily condemned.

According to Yorkshire legend (and that is probably the true origin of her 'life'), Ursula Sontheil's birth was the result of a liaison between her mother and Satan. Perhaps as would be expected from such a union, she was a stunning but not attractive child, at least according to one antique biographer: 
Very morose and big boned, her head very long, with very great goggling, but sharp and fiery Eyes, her Nose of an incredible and unproportionate length, having in it many crooks and turnings, adorned with many strange Pimples of diverse colours, as Red, Blew, [sic] and mixt, which like Vapours of Brimstone gave such a lustre of the Night, that one of them confessed several times in my hearing, that her nurse needed no other light to assist her in the performance of her duty.

She is generally supposed to have sold her soul to the Devil for the power of foretelling future events ...
Read on at the Mother Shipton page at the Scriptorium


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