A VERBATIM REPRINT OF THE EARLIEST EXISTING RECORD RELATING TO MOTHER SHIPTON--HER PROPHECIES IN RELATION TO CARDINAL WOLSEY, THE DUKE OF SUFFOLK, LORD PERCY, AND LORD D'ARCY--MASTER BESLEY'S RECORD OF HER SAYINGS--MOTHER SHIPTON'S PROPHECIES IN RELATION TO NATIONAL AND LOCAL EVENTS.
The earliest known record at present in existence relating to Mother Shipton, is a pamphlet in good preservation, dated 1641, presented to the British Museum by King George III. The following is a verbatim reprint of the whole of it, printer's errors and all:--
"The Prophesie of Mother Shipton, In the Raigne of King Henry the Eighth. Fortelling the death of Cardinall Wolsey, the Lord Percy and others, as also what should happen in insuing times. London, Printed for Richard Lownds, at his shop adjoining to Ludgate, 1641." [This is the title-page.]
"The Prophecie of Mother Shipton, in the Raigne of King Henry eighth."
"When shee heard King Henry the eighth should be King, and Cardinall Wolsey should be at Yorke, shee said that Cardinall Wolsey should never come to Yorke with the King, and the Cardinall hearing, being angry, sent the Duke of Suffolke, the Lord Piercy, and the Lord Darcy to her, who came with their men disguised to the King's house neere Yorke, where leaving their men, they went to Master Besley to Yorke, and desired him to goe with them to Mother Shipton's house, where when they came they knocked at the doore, shee said Come in Master Besley, and those honourable Lords with you, and Master Besley would have put in the Lords before him, but she said, come in Master Besley, you know the way, but they doe not. This they thought strange that she should know them, and never saw them; and then they went into the house, where there was a great fire, and she bade them welcome, calling them all by their names, and sent for some Cakes and Ale, and they drunke and were very merry. Mother Shipton, said the Duke, if you knew what wee come about, you would not make us so welcome, and shee said the messenger
should not be hanged; Mother Shipton, said the Duke, you said the Cardinall should never see Yorke; Yea, said shee, I said hee might see Yorke, but never come at it; But said the Duke, when he comes to Yorke thou shalt be burned; We shall see that, said shee, and plucking her Handkerchieffe off her head shee threw it into the fire, and it would not burne, then she tooke her staffe and turned it into the fire, and it would not burne, then she tooke it and put it on againe; Now (said the Duke) what meane you by this? If this had burn'd (said shee) I might have burned. Mother Shipton (quoth the Duke) what thinke you of me? My love, said she, the time will come when you will be as low as I am, and that's a low one indeed. My Lord Percy said, what say you of me? My Lord (said she) shooe your Horse in the quicke, and you shall doe well, but your body will bee buried in Yorke pavement, and your head shall be stolne from the barre and carried into France. Then said Lord Darcy, and what thinke you of me? Shee said, you have made a great Gun, shoot it off, for it will doe you no good, you are going to warre, you will paine many a man, but you will kill none, so they went away.
"Not long after the Cardinall came to Cawood, and going to the top of the Tower, hee asked where Yorke was, and how farre it was thither, and said that one had said hee should never see Yorke; Nay, said one, shee said you might see Yorke, but never come at it. He vowed to burne her when he came to Yorke. Then they shewed him York, and told him it was but eight miles thence; he said he will soone be there: but being sent for by the King, hee dyed in the way to London at Lecester of a laske; And Shipton's wife said to Master Besley, yonder is a fine stall built for the Cardinall in the Minster, of Gold, Pearle, and precious stone, goe and present one of the pillers to King Henry, and hee did so.
"Master Besley seeing these things fall out as shee had foretold, desired him to tell him some more of her prophesies; Master, said she, before that Owes Bridge and Trinitie Church meet, they shall build on the day,
and it shall fall in the night, untill they get the highest stone of Trinitie Church, to be the lowest stone of Owes bridge, then the day shall come when the North shall rue it wondrous sore, but the South shall rue it for evermore; When Hares kinle on cold harth stones, and Lads shall marry Ladyes, and bring them home, then shall you have a yeare of pyning hungar, and then a dearth without Corne; A woful day shall be seen in England, a King and Queene, the first comming of the King of Scots shall be at Holgate Towne, but he shall not come through the barre, and when King of the North shall bee at London Bridge, his Tayle shall be at Edenborough; After this shall water come over Owes bridge, and a Windmill shall be set on a Tower, and an Elme-tree shall lye at at every mans doore, at that time women shall weare great hats and great bands, and when there is a Lord Major at Yorke let him beware of a stab. When two Knights shall fall out in the Castle yard, they shall never bee kindly all their lives after; When Colton Hagge hath borne seven yeares Crops of corne, seven yeares after you heare newes, there shall two Judges goe in and out at Mungate barre.
"Then, Warres shall begin in the spring,
Much woe to England it shall bring:
Then shall the Ladyes cry well-away,
That ever we liv'd to see this day.
"Then best for them that have the least, and worst for them that have the most, you shall not know of the War over night, yet you shall have it in the morning, and and when it comes it shall last three yeares, betweene Cadron and Aire shall be great warfare, when all the world is as a lost, it shall be called Christs crost, when the battell begins, it shall be where Crookbackt Richard made his fray, they shall say, To warfare for your King, for halfe a crown a day, but stirre not (she will say) to warfare for your King, on paine on hanging, but stirre not, for he that goes to complaine, shall not come backe again. The time will come when England shall tremble and quake for feare of a dead man that shall bee heard to speake, then will the Dragon give the Bull a great snap, and
when the one is downe they will go to London Towne; Then there will be a great battell betweene England and Scotland, and they will be pacified for a time, and when they come to Brammammore, they fight and are again pacified for a time; then there will be a great Battle at Knavesmore, and they will be pacified for a while; Then there will be a great battell betweene England and Scotland at Stoknmore; Then will Ravens sit on the Crosse and drinke as much bloud of the nobles, as of the Commons, then woe is mee, for London shall be destroyed for ever after; Then there shall come a woman with one eye, and she shall tread in many mens blond to the knee, and a man leaning on a staffe by her, and she shall say to him, What art thou? and he shall say, I am King of the Scots, and she shall say, Goe with me to my house, for there are three Knights, and he will go with her, and stay there three days and three nights, then will England be lost; and they will cry twice of a day England is lost; Then there will be three knights in Petergate in Yorke and the one shall not know of the other; There shall be a childe born in Pomfret with three thumbes, and those three Knights will give him three Horses to hold, while they win England, and all the Noble bloud shall be gone but one, and they shall carry him to Sheriffe Nutton's Castle, six miles from Yorke, and he shall dye there, and they shall choose there an Earle in the field, and hanging their Horses on a thorne, And rue the time that ever they were borne, to see so much bloudshed; Then they will come to Yorke to besiege it, and they shall keepe out three dayes and three nights, and a penny loafe shall bee within the barre at halfe a crowne, and without the barre at a penny; And they will sweare if they will not yeeld, to blow up the Towne walls. Then they will let them in, and they will hang up the Major, Sheriffs and Aldermen, and they will goe into Crouch Church; there will be three Knights goe in, and but one come out againe; and he will cause Proclamation to be made, that any man may take House, Tower, or Bower for twentie one yeares, and whilest the world endureth, there shall never be
warfare againe, nor any more Kings or Queenes, but the Kingdome shall be governed by three Lords, and then York shall be London; And after this shall be a white Harvest of corne gotten in by women. Then shall be in the North, that one woman shall say unto another, Mother I have seen a man to day, and for one man there shall be a thousand women, there shall be a man sitting upon St. James's Church hill weeping his fill; And after that a Ship come sayling up the Thames till it come against London, and the Master of the Ship shall weepe, and the Marriners shall aske him why hee weepeth, being he hath made so good a voyage, and he shall say; Ah what a goodly Citie this was, none in the world comparable to it, and now there is scarce left any house that can let us have drinke for our money.
Vnhappy he that lives to see these days,
But happy are the dead Shiptons wife sayes.