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Decoding Shugborough

The BBC is reporting that codebreakers have descended upon Shugborough Hall in the UK to try and crack the mystery of a strange inscription there. The estate houses the enigmatic Shepherd’s Monument, which bears a strange reproduction of the famous Poussin painting Les Bergers d’Arcadie (known to many mystery researchers under the name Et in Arcadia Ego). Additionally the monument is inscribed with the letters “D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M” – a sequence of letters which has never been explained. You can see images of the monument at Marcus Williamson’s Rennes-le-Château Home Page.

For those interested in discussing this topic further, or related subjects, chime in on this thread over at the Inside the DaVinci Code website.

  1. codebreakers
    If it’s an acrostic, as most people suspect it is, I don’t think conventional code breaking techniques will work.

    The “out of your own sweet vale Alicia” appears to work but alas we can find no poetry from which it seems to have originated… I had heard this was a line of poetry from Anna Seward, but apparently, she only first mentioned the existence of the acrostic…

    Also, I understand that besides being a reversed version of the Poussin Shepherds of Arcadia, the monument frieze also has another changes (like the pyramidion on the tomb.) One wonders the purpose of Scheemakers in adding those elements.

    Steven Mizrach
    Academic, Pop Culture Junkie, Grail Recycler

    1. Any significance in the mirror??
      Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but since the image on the monument is a mirror image of the original, what happens if you put a mirror against it to “reconvert” it back to its original state?

      Well, ALL the letters read identically in the mirror – with the exception of the “S” and the “D”.

      I’ll leave it up to somebody else to try and attach some significance to that if they can….


  2. Hey does this symbol mean anything to any body?
    I have extrapolated a symbol, but before I tell you how I found it, I want to know if it means anything to anyone. Probably just a cooky series of lines. PS the short line on the left could possibly be a circle or other small shape. I will draw it roughly with ascii
    Okay having formatting problems with ascii, redraw yourself, line up the / slashes

    “He said that on my deathbed I would receive total consciousness, SO I got that goin’ for me.”

  3. Shugborough – missing letters between D and M
    Interestingly, the space between D and M in the second line of the inscription is just right to take the letters between D and M in the alphabet:

    – O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. –

    It doesn´t seem to do much in terms of simple subtraction or addition, but someone might be able to do something with this?

    Bo Abrahamsen

    PS Incidentally, all the letters in the first line of the inscription are after M in the alphabet, except “A”. I think A is the letter pointed to in the engraving, but I am not sure. Not that the simultaneous use of U and V make old Latin unlikely (would have used V for both forms).

  4. “Mirror, Mirror on the Tomb”
    The reflection is not a clear reflectus of Pousssins’ great wrok. Look closely…. two tombs…one upon another…pryramid…Shugborough’s mirror has two tombs–one upon another…Poussin’s does not…the “shepards” are pointing at other things. D and M is easily readible if you know the first 1500 versus of a basic world religion. Imagine.

    We are close. Maybe an atttempt to knnow within 10 days.


  5. Original Bletchley Park Report
    Hi All,

    I found the Bletchley Park website holding their original brief on the “decoding” being reported by the media. Seems the “Jesus (as Messiah) Defy” decode is only one likely interpretation.

    The Bletchley Park people seperated the various attempts at decodes into “teams” and say:

    “Two teams produced the most solutions: Knights Templar Academicals (9), who focused on The Knights Templar, Jacobite rebellion and Freemasonry themes and Arcady Orient (8), with proposals and ideas that centre on the Holy Grail and religious quests. The Bletchley Park team ruled out the Batty Brothers Albion (6), whose contributions covered UFO’s and Nostradamus, among others, or whose material arrived surprisingly soon after the challenge had been announced. Nifty City Shifters’ work was soon set aside because it was based on transposition, a codebreaking technique for which the Shugborough message has insufficient letters. Similarly, numerologists’ proposals, Numbers Argyle, were set aside, along with Runda Town (languages such as Icelandic, hence ‘runda’ or round, and Hebrew) and Maritime Wanderers (nodes and Turkish maritime maps). Rennes-le-Château Rovers (occultism) yielded some more plausible theories, though not directly.”

    The continue:

    “Lorn Lovers, second in the Codebreakers’ Premier League, contended that the message was intended for a dear family member or sweetheart, arguably Thomas Anson writing to his wife. The most convincing approach here is ‘Optima Uxoris Optima Sororis Viduus Amantissimus Vovit Virtutibus’. The first letter of each word forms the main part of the Shugborough inscription and translates from Latin as ‘Best wife Best Sister, Widower most Loving Vows Virtuously’. WW2 Bletchley Park codebreaker Sheila Lawn confesses to, “being rather fond of this particular team and interpretation of the message.”

    “Bletchley Park remains open-minded about the definitive answer to Shugborough’s monumental mystery. “In codebreaking, no stone should be left unturned,” said Bletchley Park Director Christine Large.”

    So…the jury is still out, it seems, no matter what the media may be saying.

    Regards, C

    1. Shepherd’s Monument
      I was just looking around the internet and came across this article about this inscription D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M at the Shepherd’s Monument, I don’t really know much about code breaking but using my limited knowledge I would say the V’s in the inscription have got to represent roman numerals, and the words will most probably be location identifiers. If you find the grail, I want it to stay alive forever so email me back at god@tells.all, only joking.

      1. D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M
        I find it interesting that you mentioned the V as a roman numeral. True, it makes the V a 5. Again, the D is 500 and the M is 1000. Could the code not simply be an elaborate grid reference?

        Another point of interest, possibly, if the letters are viewed upside down, ie. from the grave. They appear to be Greek symbols. All but the A, again, is the finger pointing at this??

        1. ET IN ARCADIA EGO


          As written on Marie de Negre D’ables tomb:

          E = epsilon = 5
          T = tau = 300
          I= iota =10
          N = nu = 50
          A =alpha =1
          R =rho =100
          X =khi = 600
          A =alpha =1
          D =delta =4
          I =iota =10
          A =alpha =1
          E =epsilon =5
          G =gamma = 3
          O =omega=800

          The total is 1890.

          1890 = 1086 = 681( see Rennes le chateau parchaments)

          1086 = THE TOMB OF JESUS( base 6 gematria)



          D= 4

          I= 10
          O= 70
          A = 1

          M =40

          I= 10
          O= 70
          A = 1

          Total = 806 = 860 = 861( by colel) = 1068 = THE TOMB OF JESUS

          D.M. is thus a repeat of the gematria value of ET IN ARCADIA EGO = 1890 = 1068= THE TOMB OF JESUS


          1. R

            “R” is phonetically equivalent to the word “ARE”

            “ARE” in LATIN may be rendered by SUNT

            SUNT = 444 in base 6 gematria

            444 = JESUS( base 6 gematria)

            Suggests that the TOMB in the relief is that of JESUS


          2. O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.
            O iota U iota O iota S iota V iota A iota V iota V iota
            O I U I O I S I V I A I V I V I
            O I U I O I S I U I A I U I U I ( V= U in Romanletering)
            212 = JESUS AND MARY MAGDALENE (in Standard gematria)


            Anam CARA, is Irish/Scots Gaelic for Soul FRIEND


            Since MARY MAGDALENE was the COMPANION/FRIEND of JESUS, MARY MAGDALENE may be equated with CARA.


            O iota U iota O iota S iota V iota A iota V iota V iota
            O I U I O I S I V I A I V I V I
            O I U I O I S I U I A I U I U I ( V= U in Romanletering)- (greek gematria)
            JESUS AND MARY MAGDALENE(212 in Standard gematria)
            JESUS CARA
            JESUS ARCA(ARCA = anagram of CARA)
            JESUS TOMB ( ARCA is latin for TOMB)


  6. O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.(D.M)
    Stone monument,built around 1748 on the land of Lord Lichfield.Relief inscription.O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.(D.M.) As I found letters and numbers!! It’s very simple cipher.Is cabalistic Gematrie system. The main singi ficance of numbers is the place in Spain.Also,these figurs create the key,(Cross).What numbers say:O=7,U=6,O=7,S=3,V=6,A=1,V=6,V=6,(D=4,M=4).=76,73,61,66,(4,4,)= 466+61=527,461+66=527,61+66=127,66+61=127.(73-61=12,76-61=15)(12=21,15=51),(4=D=DEI,4=M=MESIAS),(Dei=451,Mesias=453113),(453113=31+13=44,45+31=76,53+13=66)(44,76,66)!!(3+1+1+3+4+5+3+1+5+3+1+3==33==)!!(66+76+44=186=681,681 pergamen abbe Bigue Rennes Le Chateau.) Et in arcadia EGO. I tego arcana DEI.(EGO DEI), Ego=537,Dei=451,( 537+154= left side 681). 527,127km and it twice. This refers to the location in Spain.Soria region.Chapel of San Bartolome,built by the Knights Templar.He who created the monument in Shugborough,knew pretty important place.(INRI=1521),(1521+1251=2772=527,127)!!With what can not consulted Oliver Lawn.

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