Joanna Southcott’s box : the truth reveal’d

Last Thursday I happened to be visiting Lord’s cricket ground.  As I was a little early for my appointment I went for a stroll in the churchyard over the road from the Nursery End, and made a discovery that I feel may be of some significance.

In the churchyard, in fact right by the road, is the grave of Joanna Southcott. For anyone unfamiliar with this lady, the brief facts are these.  Southcott was a visionary and prophetess,who believed herself to be the fulfilment of the prophecy in the Book of Revelation concerning a woman clothed with the sun.  In 1814 she announced that she was to give birth (at the age of 64) to Shiloh – or the Messiah.  In fact, she died that year without, apparently, giving birth at all.  Although some of her prophecies were published in her lifetime, others were sealed in a box, with instructions that it should be opened in the presence of 24 Bishops of the Church of England at a time of national crisis.  The whereabouts of the box is a matter of dispute – some maintain that it was opened in 1927 and found to contain a lottery ticket, a lacy nightcap and a horse-pistol.  Others, however, maintain that the authentic box is in the keeping of the Panacea Society, in Bedford, awaiting the consent of 24 Bishops for it to be opened.

I cannot believe that the proximity of Southcott’s grave to Lord’s is a coincidence.

The plain facts are these.  Lord’s was founded on its current site in 1814 – the year that Southcott predicted the coming of the Messiah.  The early years of the MCC are shrouded in mystery, owing to all their records having been destroyed – conveniently, some might say – in a fire in 1825.  I think we do have to ask ourselves whether it is likely that a small private club such as MCC could have exerted such a hold over the world of cricket for so long if there were not some higher power at work. 

My theory is this.  When Southcott predicted the birth of Shiloh she was not referring to a literal birth – she meant the birth of the MCC at Lord’s.  I have consulted a learned authority on historical dialectology who has confirmed that the words MCC – if spoken in the thick Devon accent of the time – might well have been mistaken – by an audience ignorant of their meaning – for the word Messiah.  And when she referred to the coming of the Lord – well it’s obvious.

So what was in the box and where is it?  I think it’s quite clear that it was entrusted to the Committee of the MCC, and is probably kept in the so-called Holy of Holies – the Long Room at Lord’s.  We may surmise that it certainly contained the Laws of Cricket, the MCC Coaching Manual and probably the original edition of Wisden (much earlier than previously thought).

Whether all of its contents have been revealed is hard to say.  We know from the Panacea Society that ” crime and banditry, distress of nations and perplexity will increase until the Bishops open Joanna Southcott’s box“.  For those that have eyes to see, this is plainly a reference to Lalit Modi and the Indian Premier League. 

So this blog says to the current Secretary of the MCC – J.R.T. “Trout” Barclay – come on “Trout” – OPEN THE BOX!


Joanna Southcott, consulting Wisden?

10 thoughts on “Joanna Southcott’s box : the truth reveal’d

  1. With inverted commas my suggested search string works, just, (googling “sword of wrath descendeth”) but to save you time with the long comments about the Panacea Society I just posted under your “about” page, this is the link direct

    My apologies, time has diluted the search finding the link!.

    After some two visits to keep an eye on things including their tens of millions of pounds of assets I found out much of interest, but little I felt I should write. Even though hardly anybody was bothered about the money, which is kind of sweet.

    ButI was pretty sure the box is with the British Library, er.. or was it the British Museum, I forget now, that was a couple or more years ago. Given the Panacea Society membership
    numbers down to 1 now, I suspect that it is still there. Confirmation is unlikely from the British Library/Museum and the Trustees ( an interesting list involving an Oxford University senior female cleric at least then who was both trustees and recipient through her University students or department of valued scholarship grants studying such millenarian societies, not to be decried in an area of such limited expertise)

  2. Thanks for that – interesting stuff. I seem to have inadvertedly stumbled into a rather messy can of worms, which should not, perhaps, have been left open.

  3. isn’t it grand how quirky religious history is? all of this time i have been waiting for a prophet to come and lo the woman clothed with the sun was speaking about a cricket field i should laugh.

  4. Just for your information. I have studied the works of Joanna Southcott for several decades and my family have studied them since they came across them in the 1920’s.

    Although her family had once been big land owners they had fallen through her Joanna’s father not rightly claiming his inheritance. Joanna was a simple, reasonably uneducated woman but who was devout, and found to have ‘a pure heart.’

    She received messages, (many of the manuscripts of which were not published), from the Holy Ghost from 1792 until 1814, when she died. There is no way in which this woman could have made up what she wrote. Her 65 books which she published, beautifully unfold the riddle and enigma of the Bible, and foretell how Christ’s second coming is to come about.

    I’m fed up of reading that she was an imposter. If there are any people out there who seriously look into her work then simple common sense will tell them that she had a very important work to carry out.

    She was set as a clock to this nation, and much of her life was set as types and shadows for what is to come upon the earth in the last days. Her writings are there for our edification and instruction, along with those of Jane Leads and John Wroe’s. They all fit together and marry up with Holy Writ beautifully, explaining what has remained in darkness this past six thousand years.

    I am writing a book which envelopes Joanna’s writings, and those other ‘Modern Prophets’ of the Visitation to England. I hope it will make her writings more clear to the world and explain some more of Christian doctrine which the churches are failing to do.

    • Hello Elizabeth, my greatgrandmother was Violet Southcott from the St. Helens, Isle of Wight, her father was Albert Southcott and her mother Emily Channon. The family was large with many navy men and sea captains.
      Violet immigrated to Canada prior to WWI and told me many things about the family over the course of her life including the story of Joanna Southcott. She referred to Joanna as an ‘aunt’ or some kind of relative. As an adult I continued to be very interested in her but can’t find the family connection in my geneology searches. I have the Southcott family tree back to about 1600.

      Did you write your book? I went to the Isle of Wight this last may and met some of the family over there and we would all like to know if/how we are related. I now have a copy of “Joanna Southcott, The Woman Clothed with the Sun” by Frances Brown and am reading it.
      I think joanna was truly remarkable and would welcome any information you may have. sherry carroll, British Columbia Canada.

  5. As a child I lived near Albany road in Bedford and was always told Joana Southcott’s box was kept in a special tower,still visible from the road.
    I always wonder about it whenever I pass that way !

  6. My maternal grandfather and his two sons all had the middle name Southcott. When researching the family history I asked my mother about this and she told me the family are descended from Joanna Southcott’s family.

    Joanna was born on 26th April and that day has always been of significance to me, as, if something bad is going to happen, it seems to choose that day. First a car drove straight into me and fractured my skull. Another year the house caught fire. Then one year my wife was collecting the kids from school and the car hit a patch of oil, skidded across the road brushing against a lorry and ended up in a ditch. Then another year I laughingly said I would spend all day in bed just to keep safe. I did, I was taken to hospital with pancreatitis and spent several weeks in bed! All occurred on 26th April.

    All a strange coincidence? Don’t know, but since researching the family history and discovering Joanna, maybe she is somehow the reason?

    • Blimey! I’m sorry to hear about all that, Tony. Beginning to wish I hadn’t taken her name in vain now. Does seem odd that she’s decided to celebrate her birthday by persecuting one of her descendants from beyond the grave though. Takes all sorts, I suppose.

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