Ursula Southeil (c. 1488–1561) is better known as Mother Shipton. She was known as an English soothsayer and prophetess and was a contemporary of Nostradamus. but, being a woman, was not allowed his level of education and lacked his medical and astrological training and the forbearance of royal friends at court to nurture and protect her. At the ripe old age of 24 she entered a difficult marriage to Toby Shipton.
The first publication of her prophecies, which did not appear until 1641, eighty years after her reported death, contained a number of mainly regional predictions, but only two prophetic verses – neither of which foretold the End of the World, despite widespread assumptions to that effect. One of the most notable editions of her prophecies was published in 1684.
Mother Shipton was reputed to be hideously ugly. The book also claims that she married in 1512 and told fortunes and made predictions throughout her life. It is recorded in the diaries of Samuel Pepys that while surveying the damage to London caused by the Great Fire in the company of the Royal Family they were heard to discuss Mother Shipton's prophecy of the event.
She correctly predicted the dissolution of the Catholic Church under Henry VIII, the fall of Cardinal Wolsey, the untimely death of Henry’s son Edward VI, the horrific reign of “Bloody” Mary I, and the ascent of Queen Elizabeth to the throne of England. Many of her visions came true with shocking and specific clarity within her own lifetime and then in subsequent centuries. She became the feared and revered prophet of Tudor England. Her name was spoken in low, hushed whispers, as if the very mention of her name would bring the disasters she spoke of down upon the head of he that spoke them.
As with Nostradamus, she wrote her predictions in rhyme. Here are a few of them.