The legend of Mother Shipton reaches far beyond her native North
Yorkshire; locations across the country have their own Mother
Shipton folktale. Although this mythical figure has been subject
to falsified evidence and tall stories, Mother Shipton is believed
to have been an actual person, Ursula Sondyal or Sontheill,
who lived in Knaresborough and York in the late 15th and early
Mother Shipton was in 1488 in a cave beside the river Nidd in
North Yorkshire, England. Close by was an ancient well with
supposed mystical powers. The baby was born mishapen and huge.
Some thought her father was the devil. Her mother gave her up
at age two and supposedly went to live in a convent for the
rest of her life. At 24 she married Toby Shipton, a carpenter.
They had no children. She eventually became known as Mother
Shipton a woman helped many people. Many of her visions came
true within her own lifetime and in subsequent centuries.
Mother Shipton predicted important historical events many years
ahead of their time - the Great Fire of London in 1666, the
defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 - as well as the advent
of modern technology. She even forecast her own death in 1561.
Today her prophecies are still proving uncannily accurate.
Her prophecies were recounted,
published and analysed across the country, prophesies whose
accuracy startled her contemporaries. People believe she predicted
the Spanish Armada, the Great Fire of London and even the Plague
that wiped out 68,000 Londoners. In 1665, when the plague struck,
Samuel Pepys wrote, "See - Mother Shipton's word is out".
During the 17th Century, at the height of England's witch-fever,
Mother Shipton became one of England's most famous witches.
Drawings of Mother Shipton helped identify witches as monstrous,
hideous creatures. The manipulation of
her image into the witch stereotype provided society with an
outlet for the witch paranoia spreading across England.
The earliest surviving record of Mother Shipton is a pamphlet
of 1641. The pamphlet,'The Prophesie of Mother Shipton in the
Raigne of King Henry the Eighth', describes the prophecy made
by Mother Shipton about Henry VIII's bishop Cardinal Wolsey.
Wolsey had been made Archbishop of York in 1514 but had never
visited the city due to work commitments in London. He finally
planned an overdue visit to York in 1529. Mother Shipton's prophecy
said that the Cardinal would never reach the city, this was
an attack on his authority and was tantamount to treason. The
pamphlet describes how three men sent by the Cardinal visited
Mother Shipton to issue a warning from him. "shee said
that Cardinall Wolsey should never come to Yorke with the King,
and the Cardinall hearing this and being angry, sent the Duke
of Suffolke, the Lord Piercy, and the Lord Darcy to her".
Her mysticism impressed the three spies and the tale quickly
became the stuff of legends. Mother Shipton's prophecy did indeed
prove to be true, for during his approach to York, the Cardinal
was called back to London and died on the journey. This fulfilled-prediction
propelled Mother Shipton into national fame, proved in part
by the pamphlet itself despite it being written more than a
century after her death.
Mother Shiptons Cave
According to Hindu legend,
Shiva acquired his third eye when Parvati, Shiva's wife, covered
his eyes as a joke with her hands. Suddenly all the world went
dark. And instantly a bundle of light appeared on the forehead
of the god, to replace the sun. The third eye is the sixth (second-highest)
of the seven chakras, also known as the Brow Chakra or Anja.
It is located between the eyebrows and is the seat of intuition
and awareness. It governs intuition through inner and outer
sight, visions and dreams. It is a pathway to wisdom which allows
us to learn from our experiences and put them into perspective.
Its colour is indigo blue. Blockages to the third eye chakra
manifest as sinus or eye problems.
History Of Conisbrough Castle
by Dianne Drinkwater
The Settlement of Conisbrough
The name of the town of Conisbrough is older than the establishment
of the present castle. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Cyningesburh
- the defended burh of the King- and suggests that
the area belonged to one or other of the Anglo-Saxon kings,
before the Norman Conquest. At the time of the conquest the
manor of Conisbrough was held by King Harold who was defeated
in the Battle of Hastings.
In the Domesday survey the
Honour of Conisbrough was a large estate, centred on the burh,
and twenty eight vills (small townships) then belonged to it.
Most of these places are in the Doncaster district. The Honour,
once Harolds, was then in the possession of William de
Warenne, whose family were to remain the owners for a considerable
The first Norman Castle
William, the first Earl Warenne, was the son-in-law of William
I. He had been one of the Kings original followers from
Normandy in 1066, and one of the chief knights in the campaign
of conquest. He was given property by King William in many different
areas of England, his other two chief estates were based on
Castle Acre in Norfolk and on Lewes in Sussex. Williams
principal English holding appears to have been his Yorkshire
estate, at the head of which was Conisbrough. Very little is
known of Earl Williams first castle at Conisbrough, although
it is thought to have been of the common motte and bailey design
and probably built at some time around 1070 on the site of the
present stone castle.
In May 1088, William de
Warenne was made Earl of Surrey. Unfortunately, in June of the
same year William died from wounds received in battle, he was
succeeded by his son, another William, who was earl from 1088
until 1138. There is little documentary evidence for the history
of the castle in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, but
the second earl gave the living and income from the church at
Conisbrough to his fathers priory at Lewes. This gift,
and the gift of other churches besides, was confirmed by the
third earl, another William, who succeeded in 1138 and died
on crusade in 1147.
These direct descendants
from the first earl and his wife were close relations of the
Kings of England: the second earl was the grandson of William
I and nephew of Henry I and William Rufus. He married Isabel,
daughter of Hugh, third son of Henry I of France. The family
was thus closely linked to the royal nobility of France and
Hamelin Plantagenet and
the Stone Castle
The third earl who died in 1147 left no male heir, having only
one daughter, Isabel. She married the son of King Stephen, William
de Blois, who became the fourth Earl Warenne. He died without
issue in 1159, and in 1163 Henry II arranged another marriage
for the widowed Isabel. The fifth earl was Hamelin Plantagenet,
Henrys illegitimate half-brother, son of Geoffrey of Anjou.
Hamelin seems to have spent more time at his Yorkshire castle
than any of the previous earls; he held the earldom for close
on forty years, from 1163 until his death in 1202. It was this
period that saw the construction of the great stone keep of
the castle and its development as a place suitable for royalty
- King John, nephew of Hamelin, did actually stay here in 1201.
The cylindrical keep probably
dates from around 1180, Hamelin seems to have ordered its construction
to his own design, there being no other example of this type
of keep anywhere in the country. The closest parallel to the
Conisbrough keep is found at Mortemer, near Dieppe in France,
a castle also held by the Warenne family. Evidence suggests
that the keep at Mortemer is also the work of Hamelin Plantagenet.
It is generally now assumed that the construction of the stone
curtain walls of Conisbrough followed not long after the keep,
but the layout and the planning of the stone buildings within
the bailey may not have been begun until the thirteenth century
and may be the work of Hamelins son William, earl from
1202 until 1239.
After the death of William
in 1239, the castle passed to John, his son by his second marriage
to Maud, the widow of Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. She took
custody of the castle during the minority of her son, who held
the manor from 1239 until 1304. John married Alice, the sister
of Henry III. From the Hundred Rolls (records of the local court
assizes) of the period of the seventh earls tenure, there
come tales of men and women imprisoned at Conisbrough, and of
the colourful if rather unlawful dealings of the seneschal and
constables of the castle, one of whom, Richard de Heydon, was
charged with devilish and innumerable oppressions.
The Last Earl Warenne
John died in 1304 and, since his own son William had been killed
at a tournament in Guildford in 1286, he was succeeded by his
eighteen-year-old grandson John. A marriage was arranged for
him to Joan de Barr, granddaughter of King Edward I. This was
not a happy marriage and there were no children; John was thus
the eighth and last Earl Warenne. By 1313 Earl John was separated
from his wife. Then began a series of efforts to obtain a divorce
which were repeatedly unsuccessful. At last it seemed in 1316
that the divorce would be allowed, but once again judgement
went against Earl John and, rightly or wrongly, he held Thomas,
Earl of Lancaster, responsible for the failure of his case.
Intending insult rather than romance, therefore, Earl John abducted
Lancasters wife Alice. Lancaster retaliated by promptly
divorcing her and seizing the Warenne castles of Sandal and
Conisbrough from his seat at Pontefract in November 1317. At
this point King Edward II intervened and an uneasy agreement
was reached, under which Earl Thomas retained the Yorkshire
Lancaster did not hold Conisbrough
for long , for in 1322 he led a rebellion against the King which
ended with the battle of Boroughbridge. Thomas was captured
and tried for treason, found guilty then executed outside the
walls of his own castle at Pontefract. Subsequently Conisbrough
was then held by Edward II until 1326, the king stayed briefly
at Conisbrough in November 1322, in 1324 he ordered the expenditure
of up to 40 marks on repairing the towers and walls of the castles
at Pontefract and Conisbrough.
The castle was delivered
back to John de Warenne in 1326. He seems to have regained security
of tenure during the early years of the reign of Edward III,
and certainly by 1331-32. Though unable to divorce his wife,
John had two sons by Maud de Nerford who had been the wife of
Sir Simon de Derby. By a conveyance ratified by the king, John
attempted to secure the tenure of the manor and castle of Conisbrough
for his two sons and for Maud after his death; but the careful
plan went awry, for John outlived all three and died heirless
The later Middle Ages
Conisbrough reverted to the Crown and Edward III conferred the
estate on his youngest son, Edmund Langley, whose mother, Queen
Philippa, administered the estate for him while he was still
a child. His tenure lasted until 1402, and the majority of the
improvements to the accommodation of the inner ward most probably
date to this time. Of Edmunds two sons, Edward, Duke of Albemarle,
succeeded in 1402 and died in 1415 at Agincourt. His brother,
Richard, Earl of Cambridge, had been beheaded for treason earlier
in the same year, but the castle now passed to his widow, Maud,
who lived at Conisbrough until her death in 1446. The castle
then passed to her stepson, Richard Duke of York, who died at
the battle of Wakefield in 1460; his son succeeded him and in
1461 became Edward IV. Thus Conisbrough once again became a
royal castle and the estate passed to the Crown, a settlement
which was fixed in perpetuity in 1495.
By then, however, the castle was probably suffering from neglect.
A survey carried out in 1537-38 by commissioners of Henry VIII,
records that the gates of the castle, both timber and stonework,
the bridge, and about 55m (60 yd) of walling between the tower
(keep) and the gate had all fallen. In addition, one floor of
the keep had fallen in, so that by this date the castle had
already reached something like its present state of ruin.
It is because of this early
ruination, and because of sympathetic ownership thereafter,
that the castle still survives with its keep largely intact.
During the Civil War of the seventeenth century, many castles
were severely damaged either by bombardment during a siege or
deliberate destruction afterwards, to prevent their further
defensive use. However, because the collapse of the gate and
a stretch of its defences had already made Conisbrough indefensible,
it escaped further destruction at this time.
The remains of the castle
were granted by Henry VIII to the Carey family, who held it
for a long period. It was bought by Conisbrough local council
in the 1940s, and has been in the guardianship of the nation
since 1949. It is now in the care of English Heritage.
The fame of Conisbrough
The fame of the castle, spread by Sir Walter Scotts novel
Ivanhoe, is world-wide. Scott, who must have seen the castle
and been deeply impressed by it, was relaying local tradition
when he called it a Saxon fortress. The picture
he portrays of events and people at Conisbrough in the reign
of Richard I is of course fictitious. By then the keep would
just have been built, but the castle would not yet have had
enclosing stone walls.
Conisbrough Castle and The
The Ivanhoe Trust was founded in 1986 as a joint venture between
Doncaster Council and The Dartington Trust of North Devon. The
aim was to create a Trust based on the Dartington model to assist
in the economic, social and environmental regeneration of the
Dearne Valley Communities.
In 1988 the Trust reached
agreement with English Heritage to participate in, what was
then, a unique joint venture. A Management Agreement handed
the day-to-day operation of the castle to the Ivanhoe Trust.
This proved to be the forerunner of the English Heritage policy
of devolving control of some of the properties it operates to
Since the Ivanhoe Trust
took over the management of the castle, a new Visitor Centre
has been constructed, floodlighting has been installed around
the castle and a new car park has been provided. In 1992 the
Trust and English Heritage embarked upon a project to restore
the roof and floors to the castle keep which had been missing
since the sixteenth century. On the 1st April 1995 the keep
of Conisbrough Castle was re-opened to the public. Today, Conisbrough
Castle is regarded as having one of the finest Norman keep towers
anywhere in England.
Sadly however, visitor numbers
never reached the projected 60,000 per year; a peak of 48,000
in 1995 rapidly declined in subsequent years to level out at
around 27,000 per annum, with around 40% of these being school
children on education visits. Unfortunately these visitor numbers
were insufficient to enable the castle to run in a self sustaining
manner, resulting in a gradual decline in services and facilities.
Therefore it was with regret that the decision was taken to
hand back the day-to-day operation of the site to English Heritage
in April 2008.
Could Save A Life
like to share this with you:
STROKE: Remember the first three letters S.T.R.
My friend sent this to me and encouraged me to post it and spread
the word. If everyone can remember something this simple, we
could save some folks.
During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall- she
assured everyone that she was fine and just tripped over a brick
because of her new shoes. (they offered to call an ambulance)
They got her cleaned up and gave her a new plate of food - while
she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself
the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling
everyone that his wife had been taken to hospital - Ingrid passed
away. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how
to identify the signs of a stroke, prehaps Ingrid would be here
Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition
instead. It only takes a minute to read this......
A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within
three hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke....totally.
He said the trick was getting a stroke recognised, diagnosed,
and then getting the patient medically cared for within three
hours, which is tough.
RECOGNISING A STROKE:
Remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and learn!
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately
the lack of awareness spells disaster.
The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people
nearby fail to recognise the symptoms of a stroke.
Now doctors say a bystander can recognise a stroke by asking
three simple questions:
S * Ask the person to SMILE
T * = TALK. Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE coherently
(e.g."Is it sunny out today").
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks call 999
immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
NOTE: Another sign of a stroke is:
Ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked'
or goes to one side or the other that is also an indication
of a stroke.
If you read this and pass it one you can bet that at least one
life will be saved ...........and it could be your own.
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