Shepherd’s Monument. Encryption of Shugborough
Shepherd’s Monument is a sculpture of the eighteenth century, located in Staffordshire, UK. It is often associated with the work of art of the talented artist Nicolas Poussin called «The Arcadian Shepherds» (1637-38). And it is considered to be a relief copy of the painting.
Shepherd’s Monument is situated at Shugborough Hall, in the beautiful old mansion in the village of Great Haywood. Bishops Litchfield owned this castle before the reform process of monasteries in England conducted by the King Henry VIII. Subsequently, the property changed hands several times until it was purchased by William Anson.
British Member of Parliament Thomas Anson ordered a monument to the sculptor Peter Scheemakers between 1748-1763 years. It depicts a woman and three shepherds, two of which indicate the grave. It has an inscription – the carved Latin text «Et in Arcadia ego». The monument has some differences from the painting.
At the bottom of the monument between the letters D and M there are eight mysterious letters made by the relief carving – O U O S V A V V. These two letters (D and M) are found in the Roman tombs and may mean «Dis Manibus» – «For Manes.” And exactly these eight letters make this monument so mysterious and enigmatic. This sequence of symbols of unknown significance, the so-called Encryption of Shugborough, is one of the world’s riddles.
Author of the code is unknown. Some scientists believe that the monument contains a hint of the Knights Templar, indicating the path for the search of the Holy Grail (by the way, it is believed Poussin could be a member of the Templars).
In 1982, the publication of the mysterious inscription appeared in the book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” The authors were Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. They suggested that the Grail story was an allegory for the secret bloodline heirs of Christ because of its secret marriage with Mary Magdalene. Allegedly, there was a lot of evidence pointing to the true face of the Grail. Many people believed that the monument of Shepherd in the Shugborough Hall was the last key to the location of the Last Supper.
Among the common versions, there is another one and it lies in devotion to the deceased spouse of Anson. It was offered by Bishop Morchard in the early 50’s. Thus, the decryption of letters means the phrase «Optimae Uxoris Optimae Sororis Viduus Amantissimus Vovit Virtutibus», which can be roughly translated as “gentle loving widower devoted to the best of wives and the best of sisters.”
Even using modern technologies, the best minds were unable to solve this cipher. Such outstanding people as Charles Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and Charles Dickens were among them. There is still no unequivocal answer, and the variety of possible versions confuses.