Black Country Muse

Subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Tale's from the region. > Stourbridge Fortune Teller.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Stourbridge, Oldswinford, Wombourne, Thomsa Foley.


It's been said before of course, that there's nothing new under the Sun, and at time's, it's difficult to refute the statement. We are constantly being urged to be vigilent, and on guard, against the meny conmen and scam artist's of today. There were just as prevelent in the past, and like today, not always men. There has always been room, for the odd, egotistical maniac, who claims to be have the gift of prophecy, see into, and be able to predict the future. Combined with a religious claim, that God speaks to them, and we shouldn't be surprised that somme poor fool, will be taken in. Joanna Southcott, who was born in Devon, in 1750, was the so called mystic, and the Rev Thoms Philip Foley, Rector of Oldswinford, and the vicar of Wombourne, was the deluded deciple of her prophesies. The Rev Foley, came from a very wealthy and powerful family. Previously, at least 5 members had been elected to Parliament, and one had been Speaker of the House. The Foley who started it all was an Iron and nail magnate, Thomas ( fiddler ) Foley, whose grandson became the first Lord Foley, in 1712. The reason Thomas had control of 2 parishes, was entirely down to previlage, as positions in the Church, passed through powerful families, much like  Legacies do. As one who would not benefit from being an Heir, the rich found a way to keep the " spare heirs " occupied, send them into the Church. Now I don't know if Thomas was a bit thick, but he had been educated at Rugby and Cambridge, gained a B.A . and an M.A. He came from a long line of highly intelligent men, Lawyers, Politicians, and other highly regarded Clerics. How he could disregard what he had been taught, and throw all common sense out of the nearest window, no one will ever know.


Joanna Southcott on the other hand, was domestic servant, and shop assistant, who had, prior to joining in a Methodist revival in 1790, undergone a religious conversion, and had already started writing prophesies, as she claimed, revealed to her from God himself. She was causing something of a sensation, not only among the poor uneducated mass'es, but also among the authorities, who feared trouble. Not withstanding the ridicule and scorn he faced, remember, he was supposed to be a man of religious beliefs, not the hocus-pocus of superstition, he built for her, a Chapel in London, in 1802. By way of repayment, Joanna Southcott. immediatly declared, that in 12 months time, she would become the " Mother of Shiloh ". This was her prophecy of the second coming of Christ. This bought the roof down, so to speak, and in the face of, by now, a great deal of anger,  not from just the Church, she had to flee London.  The Rev Foley was undaunted, and invited her back to his home in Oldswinford.  The Prophesies that she had written, were now placed, in a stout Iron bound box, and sealed with 7 fitted locks. It was very closely guarded. Her arrival here in the Midlands, her prophesies already having preceeded her, bought out some large crowds, and she sat in an open carriage waving royally at her devoutee's. The Rev Foley, once again displaying a surprising lack of his flocks feelings, was astonished at the level of anger, as some threatened to burn the house down. Perhaps, as they didn't, they were merely taking no chances on the second coming, after all, it may have been true. There was a birth however within the said time though. The vicars wife was delivered of a daughter, in August 1803, but she sadly died in November the same year. Meanwhile, Joanna Southcott was off again on her travels, needs must, as they say, and bills had to be paid. At least that was the implication, although it was reported that she very rarely paid for anything. The Rev Foley, as strong in his faith of Joanna as ever, continued to believe, as he was certain all her teachings came directly from God. When she died suddenly, from a " brain fever ",  in 1814, the Rev Foley got a little shock, she had left a will, and in it, nominated him to look after her priceless box of Prophesies. Now what would you have done, unlocked it and had a look, I know I would have. Then again, I'm not the Rev Foley, because thats not what he was reported to have done. He kept it locked, for the next 21 years, until his death, in 1835. Knowing what was in there, when it was eventually opened, I can't believe the old Rector never had a look. After all, the whole idea of making prophesies, is that they can be read, after the so called Mystic's death, isn't it? You can find the answer online, or in the many books and articles on Joanna Southcott. I've only got one thing to add, as a bit of advice, never ever believe anyone, who claims they can predict, see into the future, or have special powers, they are all frauds and cheats. Which I believe, is where I started this post, is it not ?

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 14, 2011 at 4:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Joanna Southcott, Stourbridge,


The legacy of Joanna Southcott was also evident some 5 years after her death, when a riot ensued in London. In January, 1819, several of her deluded, but devoted followers, proclaimed the second coming, by marching through the City streets, and holding a rather noisy meeting. Samuel Sibley, his wife Maria, Samuel Jones, and his 10 year old son Thomas, John Angel, Thomas Smith, James Dodd, and the young prophet, Edward Slater, aged 12, all wearing white cockade's, yellow ribbons in the form of a Star, and waving little blue silk flags, caused a huge crowd to gather. Well they did after Samuel Sibley began to blow a blue ribanded Trumpet. Proclaiming the start of a new Shiloh on earth, ( The late Joanna Southcotts prediction ) for some reason angered the crowd and fighting broke out. Rescued by the watch, they were hauled in front of a Magistrate, and charged with a breach of the peace. After listening to all they had to say, the Magistrate came to the conclusion that they were a " Manic band of grossley ignorant and stupid people, under the delusions of the late Joanna Southcott ". On the promise, that they would not do the same again, he gave them a discharge, and under escort, sent them all home. Well at least they didn't loot any shops.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.