Towards the end of the 17th century Sir William Wyndham passed through Saint Mark’s Square in Venice in a carriage. At the very end of the square, a curious gathering was held; there were more people than usual. As he stopped his carriage to find out what was going on, he spotted a charlatan who was calling up the dead. The man used a white iron pipe to relay his predictions, shortening or lengthening the pipe as he pleased. Sir Wyndham tossed a coin at the charlatan who responded by pointing his iron pipe at the carriage and saying loudly and clearly in Italian, “Signor Inglese, cavete il bianco cavallo.”
This had left even more of an impression on him as some years earlier, when he was much younger. One day, upon his return from a hunting expedition, he found a group of housekeepers gathered together by the gate of the park that belonged to his father, listening to a fortune teller. He was deaf-mute, or pretended to be, and in exchange for a few pennies, used chalk and a wooden plank to write the answers to the questions that the housekeepers asked him. When Sir William passed by, the man motioned to him that he wanted to speak with him. He was in a good mood, and agreed without even thinking of a question to ask him. The man with the chalk took the piece of wood and wrote in clear letters, “Beware of a white horse.”
The absurdity of such a thought made him smile and he forgot about it up until that coincidental event in Venice, which reminded him about it once more.
Sir William Wyndham was heavily involved in government affairs over the last four years of Queen Anne’s reign, during which a project was put into place to reinstate King James II’s son to the throne which his father had lost. Upon the arrival of George I, the Duke of Brunswick, many people were banned or imprisoned, the first among whom being Sir William, who was sent to the Tower of London in 1715.
Great Britain’s coat of arms had been painted above this fortress’s inner gates. At the time, work was being done to the gates to make the necessary changes in preparation of George I’s advent. As Sir William’s carriage passed underneath the gate, a painter was busy adding a white horse that featured on the House of Brunswick’s coat of arms.
He instantly thought of the two predictions that had been made to him and told the Tower’s governor and everybody who came to see him during his detention about it. He considered the double prophecy completely fulfilled. Alas, many years later, upon setting out on a hunting expedition, he had the misfortune of crossing a ditch and breaking his neck… He was riding a white horse.