Mother Shipton’s Cave is England’s oldest tourist attraction. People have been visiting since 1630. The area is a beautifully landscaped park, lending atmosphere to an already magical place.
As a child I didn’t know the story of Mother Shipton, just that she was a local witch who lived in a cave. The witch part doesn’t exactly tell the whole story.
As the legend goes Mother Shipton’s real name was Ursula Sontheil. She was the daughter of Agatha, a local girl who found herself pregnant, but unmarried, at the age of 15. When she refused to tell the identity of the father, and with no parents to support her, she was shunned, banished from the village. Poor Agatha found shelter in a cave on the outskirts of Knaresborough by the bank of the River Nidd, below Knaresborough Castle. And there, one stormy night in 1488, with thunder…
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