Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 30, No 1 (2011)

A Secret Code at Shugborough Hall?

Duncan Fishwick
Issued Date: 5 Mar 2012


A well known monument at Shugborough Hall, Shropshire, U.K., preserves a marble reproduction by Peter Scheemakers of Nicolas Poussin’s famous painting “Les Bergers d’Arcadie”. Below the engraving appear the letters O U O S V A V V together with A and and O at either end, slightly lowered. Whereas professional cryptographers have treated these letters as a secret code, they are best interpreted as standard abbreviations of common Latin words that might be expanded as follows:
D(is) M(anibus)
O(ptimae) U(xoris) O(ssa) S(ita) V(ices) A(gens) V(t) V(overat)
or V(otum) A(nimo) V(t) V(overat)
The possibility remains that the Anson brothers, on whose estate the monument stands, were involved in secret societies.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v30i1.83


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