Shepherd's Monument 'code' turns out to be 19th century graffiti





It is a secret code that has confounded some of the finest minds of the past 150 years, and proved irresistible to hundreds of conspiracy theorists.

Explanations for the eight-letter inscription on the 18th century Shepherd's Monument, at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, have ranged from a coded love letter to Biblical verse.

Some have even suggested that the letters OUOSVAVV – framed at either end by DM – were a sign left by the Knights Templar pointing to where the Holy Grail was buried.

Their true meaning, however, could prove a disappointment to lovers of Da Vinci Code-style mysteries.

According to the historian AJ Morton, the inscription is little more than graffiti left in the early 19th century by the former Shugborough residents George Adams and his wife, Mary Vernon-Venables.

Mr Morton, an expert in graves and monuments, explained that the letters could be matched to the couple, relations of Thomas Anson, who built the monument in the mid-1700s. "There doesn't appear to be any reference to the curious letters until the 19th century. This suggests, quite strongly, that they were added later," said Mr Morton. Nothing in Thomas Anson's life fits the letters in the inscription … except the family of his nephew, George Adams."...


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