This book examines the myths that have grown up around the famous Sealed Box of the prophetess Joanna Southcott, and establishes the truth of its current resting place and the status of its mysterious contents.
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"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." – Deuteronomy 29:29
If the name of Joanna Southcott strikes a chord today, it is usually in connection with her famous Box of Sealed Prophecies. But, if asked what that Box is, some will assure you that it contains the secrets of the second coming, while others say that it holds nothing more significant than a woman's lacy night cap and a pistol. As to where the Box is now, some repeat that it was opened in 1927 in Westminster Hall and that it is now housed in the Harry Price Library in London. Others have suggested that its contents are in the British Library, while the Box itself languishes in a cellar of the British Museum. Still others maintain that the Box no longer exists – if, indeed, it ever did.
The truth is far simpler yet in some ways more mysterious. The Box does exist. The author has seen and examined it. There has been an unbroken chain of custodians from Joanna's day to this, and the present guardians of the Box take their responsibilities every bit as seriously as their predecessors. Moreover, all the evidence suggests that Joanna Southcott's Box has not been opened for at least a hundred and fifty years and that it contains prophecies which have been kept with their seals intact ever since her death.
This book, by establishing the provenance of the Box, dispels the falsehoods that have blurred its history. Joanna Southcott's Box of Sealed Prophecies is locked, nailed and corded, its contents still awaiting examination.
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Rev. Dr Jane Shaw
1. Nailed up in a Box, 1798–1802
2. Trials and Stipulations, 1802–1820
3. The Women at Weston Place, 1820–1825
4. Riveted to my Soul, 1825–1835
5. Enter Mr and Mrs Jones, 1835–1842
6. Embattled Custodian, 1842–1861
7. The Finger of God, 1861–1876
8. Resting in Paradise, 1876–1918
9. End of a New Beginning, 1918–1926
10. The Bishops and the Box, 1926–1934
11. Place of My Glory, 1934–1957
12. Coming to the Centre, 1957–2003
1. Custodians of Joanna Southcott's Box
2. Biographical Notes
3. Conditions under which the Box may be opened
4. List of bishops from which 24 may gather
5. Map showing locations of the Box, 1798–2003
Frances Brown read history at Queen Mary College, University of London, and went on to become a teacher. She has written both fiction and non-fiction, and lectures widely to writers' groups and history and archaeological societies. She lives in Somerset.
Frances Brown's revealing examination of the controversy and debate surrounding a woman who has become more famous in death than in life. Evergreen / This England
... a good introduction to the life of the extraordinary and still-compelling Joanna Southcott. Church Times