Mother Shipton's Cave

Coordinates: 54°00′31″N 1°28′29″W / 54.008691°N 1.474705°W / 54.008691; -1.474705
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Mother Shipton's Cave
Objects hung in the falling water of the petrifying well at Mother Shipton's Cave

Mother Shipton's Cave (or "Old Mother Shipton's Cave") is at Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England, near the River Nidd. Nearby is a petrifying well, also known as a dropping well.[1] The latter is the oldest tourist attraction to charge a fee in England, and has been operated since 1630.[2] The water of the well is so rich in sulphate and carbonate[1] that artefacts may be put in the well to be "petrified" (encrusted) as a tourist attraction.[3]

The place is associated with the legendary soothsayer and prophetess Mother Shipton (c. 1488–1561), born Ursula Southeil, and reportedly the wife of Toby Shipton. According to legend, she was born in the cave. The cave and dropping well, together with other attractions, remain open to visitors and are run privately by Mother Shipton's Cave Ltd.[2]

Workers hanging objects to be calcified at Mother Shipton's Cave in 1975


  1. ^ a b Benjamin Arthur Burrell (1896). "Analysis of the Water from the Dropping Well at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire". Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions. 69: 536–539. doi:10.1039/ct8966900536.
  2. ^ a b "Mother Shipton's Cave website". Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  3. ^ Anthony H. Cooper; Noelle E. Odling; Phillip J. Murphy; CLaire Miller; Christopher J. Greenwood; David S. Brown (2013). "The role of sulfate-rich springs and groundwater in the formation of sinkholes over gypsum in eastern England". Proceedings of the Thirteenth Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst: 141–150. doi:10.5038/9780979542275.1122. ISBN 978-0-9795422-7-5.

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54°00′31″N 1°28′29″W / 54.008691°N 1.474705°W / 54.008691; -1.474705