The woman who would be known as Mother Shipton was born Ursula Southeil towards the end of the fifteenth century. Popular legend recounts how she was born in a cave near the town of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, northern England. Following the death of her husband, young Ursula returned to the cave where she lived the rest of her days. She gained fame in her own lifetime as a prophetess and seer, as well as a witch by some. In a 1537 letter, King Henry viii referred to the "witch of York" and this is generally thought a contemporary reference to Shipton. Her fame lived on after her death in 1561 and grew as time transformed story to legend. Her Knaresborough cave near the River Nidd remains a popular tourist attraction to this day.
This 1686 edition, presented here in facsimile form, is one of the earliest collections of Mother Shipton's prophecies.