skip to Main Content

Light and Dark

Copyright Mary Shipman
Copyright Mary Shipman

The museum team arrived just in time, the new tenant was starting to turn the old hat factory into a tacky theme park. When her only son passed away, Old Mother Shipton had locked the doors to everyone, and a time capsule had been created. Even her former washing hung as if petrified from the rafters.

When no one had claimed her estate, the place became ‘bona vacantia’ and so the crown took it. A venture capital company purchased the estate, then put it up for rent. A local museum objected and won the right to preserve the place…


Ursula Sontheil [old mother Shipton] was born in 1488 near Knaresborough and found famed as a prophetess. The Petrifying Well at Knaresborough was first written about in 1538. Magic is in the eye of the beholder.


This Post Has 40 Comments
    1. I agree, I tripped up several times on this piece of writing. I nearly always go with my first thoughts on seeing a FF prompt. The clothes hanging from the rafters took me to mother Shiptons cave. Now I wonder should I have gone with the rolling pins. Mike

    1. Thank you Rochelle, One of the things I have enjoyed from FF is learning about the history behind some of the posted story’s. I hope that one day I will learn how to post a working link to a subject behind one of my stories.

      1. Creating links is really quite easy! Highlight the bit you want to link to (ie: old mother Shipton), and then above the box that you are typing the story in (on WordPress), there is a “link icon” (google that, if you don’t recognize it). You click on that icon, copy and paste the URL of the website that provides the historical (or other) info, and follow prompts. I too had to look up Old Mother Shipton… but love that you’ve written a story that made me want to look it up! 🙂

  1. Interesting to learn of Old Mother Shipton.
    Sadly the wrecking ball removes too much history from our midst. Have you ever been to the Tenement Museum in NY City? It is an 1863 preserved tenement building on the Lower East Side with various rooms as they were through time with immigrant families who lived there. It’s a marvelous piece of preserved history. I believe if you Google it you can see photos. Fascinating place for adults as well as children to tour.

  2. That took me back – one of my first childhood memories was visiting Old Mother Shipton’s cave, and seeing a half finished piece of knitting petrified into stone. Brilliant take on the prompt. 🙂

  3. Old Mother Shipton inspired by a picture provided by Ms. Mary Shipman- had to point it out :). Thank you for sharing. It was heartwarming to read.

    1. The history of humanity is full of surprises, plus much that has not been recorded. It is such a rich field for anyone wishing to write. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Mike

  4. This is a wonderfully inspired piece – I like how you followed your instincts anyhow Mike, and let yourself explore the idea of preservation, magic and yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Definitely a fun image and your story is a lovely little slice of play and interest.

    1. I guess that throughout the world there will be places stuck in time, each with their own story. If so it will keep us writers busy trying to tell their stories. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Mike

    1. Thank you Dale. More years ago than I care to remember, history was one of the very few subjects at school that I could generally cope with. I will however try not to push that interest on my readers to often. Mike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top