Elizabeth Barton was a Renaissance Nun whose outlandish prophecies against King Henry would eventually lead to her execution. But was she an ecstatic as the Church claimed? Or merely a pretender?
In 1525, a 19-year-old Elizabeth Barton was working as a servant girl when she became ill and started falling in and out of trances. This may have been a result of undiagnosed epilepsy but in all probability, these fits could merely have been the result of teenage angst, sexual frustration and religious mania (still experienced by many passionate young women today). Every time she emerged from one of her trances, she (speaking in rhyming prophecies) professed that she could predict the future, claiming “wondrously things done in other places.” and so she went from house cleaner to religious visionary overnight. Some of her predictions came true and some did not but her reputation spread like…
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