Mother Shipton's Cave
Cave Knaresborough North Yorkshire

Mother Shipton's Cave

Cave In Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

A limestone cave in Knaresborough where local legend has it that Mother Shipton was born and lived.

The legend of Mother Shipton (c. 1488-1561), born Ursula Southeil, is a long and complex one, but the basic story is that she was born in the cave to a young woman named Agatha Soothtale. Agatha was only 15 years old when she gave birth, and she was shunned by her community. She raised Ursula on her own in the cave until she was two years old, when the Abbott of Beverley took pity on them and arranged for Ursula to be taken in by a local family.

The cave itself is limestone and located almost in the centre of Knaresborough. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in England. It can be found at end of a mile-long woodland walk, along the banks of the River Nidd. The cave itself is small, but it is home to a number of interesting features, including stalactites and stalagmites, estimated to be around 10,000 years old. There is also a small museum on the site, which tells the story of Mother Shipton and her prophecies.

Ursula was said to be deformed and ugly, and on her birth she cackled rather than cried, but she was also said to be possessed of strange powers. She could see into the future, and she was said to have made many accurate prophecies. Some of her most famous prophecies include the Great Fire of London (1666), the death of Henry VIII (1547), and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769).

Mother Shipton's prophecies were not always well-received. Some people believed that she was a witch, and she was often accused of causing misfortune. However, she also had many supporters, and her prophecies were widely read and discussed.

Mother Shipton died in 1561, and she was buried in Knaresborough. Her grave is still a popular tourist attraction, and it is said that if you rub her nose on the statue of her at the cave, you will be granted a wish.

There is also a famous petrifying well adjacent to the cave, which has been operating since 1630. The water in the well is so rich in minerals, including calcium carbonate, silica and iron, that it is said to be able to turn objects into stone in a matter of months.

Over the years, many different objects have been petrified in the well, including toys, coins, jewellery, and even human hair. Some of the most famous petrified objects in the well include a teddy bear, a bicycle, and a bonnet. In the small museum you can see examples that have been donated by famous people including Paul Daniels and John Wayne! The oldest petrified object in the well is said to be a coin dating back to the 17th century.

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54.008719, -1.474738

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factually.spoils.circulate

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54.008665, 54.008665

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Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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Andrew Gardner

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Mother Shipton's Cave was listed in Cave // North Yorkshire // Knaresborough