Mother Shiptons cave, the viaduct, river and castle

Knaresborough Travel Blog

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Knaresborough - A view down the river Nidd, with rowing boats and the viaduct in the background

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Dad (England)

I had previously worked in Knaresborough for 18 months, but i had never really appreciated its beauty before today. Situated on the banks of the river Nidd, star attractions include a Norman era castle, Mother Shipton's cave, a viaduct and the oldest chemist in England. The town was large enough to have been mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and possesses links with several famous events that have occurred in English History.

In 1170 Hugh de Morville and three other knights who were guilty of murdering the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, hid in Knaresborough castle.

Knaresborough - An explanation of Mother Shipton's Cave
In 1570, Guy Fawkes, who was the instigator of the 1605 Gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, was born in the nearby village of Scotton. Every year on the 5th November, people still celebrate the uncovering of the plot and burn "guys" on a bonfire and set off fireworks. This celebration is commonly known as Bonfire night. In 1644, during the Civil War, there was the Battle of Marston Moor on the outskirts of town, which brought victory for Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary forces over Prince Ruperts Royalists. Finally, there was Ursula Southeil aka Mother Shipton, whom i will talk about in due course.

First port of call for us was to be Mother Shipton's Cave, with the entrance located next to High bridge. Mother Shipton was born in 1488 and gained fame as a fortune teller.

Knaresborough - The old castle mill, located on the opposite side of the weir on the river Nidd
One of her prophecies was that the World would come to an end when High bridge fell down for the third time. Rather disconcertingly the bridge has collapsed twice already, so fingers crossed it won't be toppling over any time soon! Some prophecies that she supposedly predicted included 1) the discovery of America and the invention of 2) cars, 3) the telephone, 4) steel ships, 5) aeroplanes, 6) movies, 7) submarines and even 8) womens liberation! Here are some 'cryptic' verses that were allegedly written by her at the start of the 16th century, so you can decide for yourself. Some people believe that these compositions are hoaxes written in the 19th century, although this would still mean some of these predictions had not come to fruition!

1) Gold shall be seen in stream and stone,
In land that is yet unknown.

Knaresborough - The viaduct crossing the river Nidd

2) A carriage without horse will go,
disaster fill the world with woe.

3) Around the world men's thoughts will fly,
quick as the twinkling of an eye.

4) In water, iron then shall float
as easy as a wooden boat.

5) And men shall fly as birds do now,
and give away the horse and plow.

6) When pictures seem alive with movements free,
7) when boats like fishes swim beneath the sea.

8) For in those wondrous far off days,
the women shall adopt a craze
to dress like men, and trousers wear
and to cut off their locks of hair.

Admission to the grounds was £6, which by English standards is pretty normal. There was a nice walking trail alongside the river Nidd, that ran underneath Knaresborough's famous viaduct and beside the old linen mill and weir.

Knaresborough - The old castle mill and weir on the river Nidd
Near the far end of the park was the Petrifying Well, which contains such high mineral deposits that anything placed in it eventually turns to stone! Just a few metres from here is the cave where Mother Shipton was born and also a wishing well. I'm sure that the majority of wishes cast that day were for the drizzle to stop and the sun to come out!

The nearby museum possesed some impressive petrified artifacts, such as John Waynes hat, Agatha Christies bag and even one of Queen Mary's shoes! There was also a display on another famous Knaresborough resident called Blind Jack, who despite his misfortune became a great road and bridge builder.

Exiting Mother Shipton's, we headed across the river and up to the ruins of Knaresborough Castle. From here we had great views of the viaduct and river Nidd and whilst the sun was still hiding, at least it had stopped raining.

Knaresborough - Dad and Julia enjoying the views of the viaduct crossing the river Nidd
The Castle itself was rather uninspiring, as Cromwell's troops had destroyed much of it, and what was left the locals had pilfered to build their homes. However, the surrounding gardens were pretty enough and the climb up had conveniently triggered our appetites.

When it comes to food, there isn't a better person to know than my Dad. He is a connoisseur of English grub and to say he enjoys his desserts would be an understatement. Thus he knew the perfect little ice cream shop to take us to, which is called Brymor's. Countless flavours confronted us, so we all chose a different one, so we could sample each others.

Continuing into the town centre, we walked around the old market square, which had a statue of Blind Jack in it, the town hall and also England's oldest Chemist.

Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough
There was also Drakes, which serves up really tasty fish and chips, but we decided to save that little treat for another time. Finally we paid a fleeting visit to Conyngham Hall, before moving on to Ripon. We made a brief stop along the way to admire another stately home, which had a large pond filled with ducks and some impressive Aberdeen Angus cows resting in the grass.

CFD says:
You wrote "I had previously worked in Knaresborough for 18 months, but i had never really appreciated its beauty before today."

After traveling for a while you start to appreciate the surroundings around your home. I first realized how beautiful Norway was in 2008 after going around the world a bit , and being a tourist in my own country.
Posted on: Mar 19, 2010
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Knaresborough - A view down the r…
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Knaresborough - An explanation of…
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Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
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Knaresborough - The viaduct cross…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
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Knaresborough - Dad and Julia enj…
Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough
Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough
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Knaresborough - Stylish old car a…
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Knaresborough - Julia with a styl…
Knaresborough -  The Worlds End Pub
Knaresborough - The Worlds End Pub
Knaresborough viaduct
Knaresborough viaduct
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Knaresborough - The entrance to M…
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Knaresborough - An explanation of…
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Knaresborough - A view of the Riv…
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Knaresborough - Some people rowin…
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Knaresborough - A union jack flyi…
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Knaresborough - Rowing a boat dow…
Knaresborough viaduct
Knaresborough viaduct
Knaresborough - Picnicers sit in f…
Knaresborough - Picnicers sit in …
Knaresborough - Rowing boats on th…
Knaresborough - Rowing boats on t…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
Knaresborough - The old castle mil…
Knaresborough - The old castle mi…
Knaresborough - The river Nidd
Knaresborough - The river Nidd
Knaresborough - Petrified objects …
Knaresborough - Petrified objects…
Knaresborough - Petrified objects …
Knaresborough - Petrified objects…
Knaresborough - Petrified objects …
Knaresborough - Petrified objects…
Knaresborough - The river Nidd
Knaresborough - The river Nidd
Knaresborough - Julia and I with a…
Knaresborough - Julia and I with …
Knaresborough - A statue of Mother…
Knaresborough - A statue of Mothe…
Knaresborough - Julia making a wis…
Knaresborough - Julia making a wi…
Knaresborough - Me making a wish i…
Knaresborough - Me making a wish …
Knaresborough - My Dad making a wi…
Knaresborough - My Dad making a w…
Knaresborough - Queen Marys petrif…
Knaresborough - Queen Marys petri…
Knaresborough - John Waynes petrif…
Knaresborough - John Waynes petri…
Knaresborough - Diorama of Blind J…
Knaresborough - Diorama of Blind …
Knaresborough - Diorama of a bird …
Knaresborough - Diorama of a bird…
Knaresborough - A view down the ri…
Knaresborough - A view down the r…
Knaresborough - An old book store
Knaresborough - An old book store
Knaresborough - The Half Moon pub
Knaresborough - The Half Moon pub
Knaresborough - The viaduct crossi…
Knaresborough - The viaduct cross…
Knaresborough - A train passes ove…
Knaresborough - A train passes ov…
Knaresborough - The viaduct crossi…
Knaresborough - The viaduct cross…
Knaresborough - The viaduct crossi…
Knaresborough - The viaduct cross…
Knaresborough Cenotaph
Knaresborough Cenotaph
Knaresborough castle
Knaresborough castle
Knaresborough - The castle grounds
Knaresborough - The castle grounds
Knaresborough - The castle gardens
Knaresborough - The castle gardens
Mosaic outside Knaresborough castle
Mosaic outside Knaresborough castle
Pretty house in Knaresborough, cov…
Pretty house in Knaresborough, co…
Dad and I eating Brymor ice cream …
Dad and I eating Brymor ice cream…
Dad and Julia walking through Knar…
Dad and Julia walking through Kna…
Market Tavern in Knaresborough
Market Tavern in Knaresborough
Blind Jacks Pub in Knaresborough
Blind Jacks Pub in Knaresborough
Julia and I with a bronze statue o…
Julia and I with a bronze statue …
A bronze statue of Blind Jack in K…
A bronze statue of Blind Jack in …
The oldest Chemist shop in England…
The oldest Chemist shop in Englan…
Knaresborough Town Hall, situated …
Knaresborough Town Hall, situated…
Knaresborough market square
Knaresborough market square
Bradford Old Bank sign in Knaresbo…
Bradford Old Bank sign in Knaresb…
Knaresborough high street
Knaresborough high street
Knaresborough high street
Knaresborough high street
St John the Baptist Church in Knar…
St John the Baptist Church in Kna…
St John the Baptist Church in Knar…
St John the Baptist Church in Kna…
St John the Baptist Church in Knar…
St John the Baptist Church in Kna…
St John the Baptist Church in Knar…
St John the Baptist Church in Kna…
St John the Baptist Church in Knar…
St John the Baptist Church in Kna…
Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough
Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough
Ducks
Ducks
A stately home on the outsjirts of…
A stately home on the outsjirts o…
Aberdeen Angus
Aberdeen Angus
Knaresborough
photo by: Deats