London, Feb 1 (ANI): The eight-letter inscription on the 18th century Shepherd's Monument in UK has left many baffled, but a British historian has come forward to say that it is nothing more than 19th century graffiti.
The letters OUOSVAVV, framed at either end by DM, on the monument at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, has confounded some of the finest minds of the past 150 years, and it has brought out hundreds of theories.
Explanations have ranged from a coded love letter to Biblical verse, and even to it being a sign left by the Knights Templar pointing to where the Holy Grail was buried.
But according to 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.
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," the Telegraph quoted Morton as saying.
"Nothing in Thomas Anson's life fits the letters in the inscription ... except the family of his nephew, George Adams," he explained.
Morton discovered that Adams' wife was the daughter of the 1st Baron Vernon and sister of Edward Vernon-Harcourt, an Archbishop of York, and their son, Thomas Anson, was made Viscount Anson of Shugborough in 1806.
"It is very likely that 'M'ary 'V'enables-'V'ernon of 'S'udbury Hall, the Baron 'V'ernon of 'D'erbyshire, the honourable Edward 'V'ernon-Harcourt and the 1st 'V'iscount 'A'nson of 'O'rgreave (a hamlet 'U'nited with 'O'verley) and 'S'hugborough were somehow involved in the creation of the original 'Shugborough Code'," he said.
"I've tried convincing myself that I'm wrong, but I can't see any way out. While I'm pleased to have solved it, I do worry that I've destroyed something magical," he added. (ANI)