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13 November 2014

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Odd Staffordshire

You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Discover Staffordshire > Local Life > Odd Staffordshire > The Shugborough Code

Shugborough Hall

The Shugborough Code

A harder code to crack than enigma? The experts who solved Nazi Germany's secret codes tackled a mystery code at Shugborough in Staffordshire… but have they solved it and will it lead to the Holy Grail?

I know I'm not the only one who has been gripped by The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown… it tells the story of the search for the Holy Grail, by following clues hidden in paintings by Da Vinci.

But here in Staffordshire we have an alternative theory...

Holy Grail

In a quiet corner of a stately home near Stafford - Shugborough Hall - on the so-called "Shepherd’s Monument", are some markings which have baffled people for 250 years.

Rumours say the "code" is hiding a set of instructions on how to find the Holy Grail, the chalice in which the blood of Jesus was collected, as it fell from his crucified wounds.

Others say it is based on an ancient and religious set of markings, linked to the Masons and African nature worship (see our messageboard below).

Above the code is a copy of a Poussin painting – and he was rumoured to know where the grail was. Dan Brown used Poussin as inspiration for The Da Vinci Code.

The inscription is D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M

The Shugborough Code

Can you crack the code?

Bletchley Park

It needed the very best code breakers… so last year Shugborough got in touch with the legendary Bletchley Park.

At Bletchley, experts had cracked some of the most complex codes in WWII including the famous Enigma. But would it be too much even for their specialist eyes?

They arrived in 2004 and searched through historical archives for clues. After six months of intense study the world waited in anticipated of the findings.

Love note

Bletchley short listed two theories...

Veteran World War II cryptanalyst Sheila Lawn believes it's an ancient love note, and the code is an ancient Latin phrase. She says “I'm a romantic at heart so maybe the Holy Grail Cup is just a cup of love.”

Her husband Oliver prefers a more mystical solution connected to the Knights Templar, keepers of the Holy Grail.

But the best work came from an unnamed professional code breaker. He came up with a Knight's Templar message: Jesus H Defy.

The “H” is believed to stand for the Greek letter “Chi” meaning Christ and is thought to relate to Templar belief that Jesus was an earthly body rather than celestial.

As to whether the monument reveals the location of the Holy Grail, we still don't know, or perhaps Bletchley are keeping that top secret.

Shugborough's general manager, Richard Kemp suggests that:

"Bletchley Park is saying it's not just the words, it's the juxtaposition of the words, it's the angle of the shepherd's staffs, it's the surroundings, it's the totality of the site."

Meaningless mission?

So the mission to crack the Shugborough code continues... and visitors are still  expected from all over the world in search of their own answers.
As the hall and its grounds are open to the public, they still come in their hundreds!
Can they solve the riddle and perhaps find the Holy Grail?

Of course, another theory is that the code is meaningless and was put there to tease future generations. If that's true... it's definitely succeeding!

»»» To see the BBC Midlands Today video about the Shugborough Code, look for the link on the top right of this page.

last updated: 04/02/2009 at 11:19
created: 17/05/2005

Have Your Say

Have you cracked the code? Let us know what your solution (however crazy) is!

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Malte Krons
An older solution (A) refers to genesis 50, 25: „Deus visitabit vos asportate vobiscum ossa mea de loco isto.“. The initials from the words „visitabit vos asportate vobiscum“ are „vvav“. The reverse „vavv“ is a fragment of „DOUOSVAVVM“. This solution is correct but incomplete.The completion (B) is: Apocalypse of John 11, 14: „vae secundum abiit ecce vae tertium veniet cito“. Removing the 2., the 4., the 6. word, etc, four words remain: „vae abiit vae veniet“. Its Initials are in correct order „vavv“. Apocalypse of John 11, 14 in English means: „The second Woe is past: behold, the third Woe cometh quickly.“. The first (not mentioned) „Woe“ means (in this case) „A“, the second „Woe“ means „B“, and the third „Woe“?The end letters of „vae abiit vae veniet“ are „etet“. The reverse is „Tete“, the French word for „Head“. The Latin word for „Head“ is „Caput“. Other Significance of „Caput“ is „Chapter“.The end letters of „visitabit vos asportate vobiscum“ are „tesm“. The reverse is „mest“ or „m est“.„m est“ is a fragment in Evangelium of John Chapter 12, 5 (C): „Quare hoc unguentum nonm veniit trecentis denariis et datu(m est) egenis? “. The third „Woe“ means „C“ ...If you want to know more, contact Bletchley Park. They have my complete solution. It is too long to be publicated here.

Eureka Baigent
There is no idea so daft that it cannot find idiots still dafter to take it seriously. Just when did these so-called rumours of a connection with the Holy Grail first appear? Could it by any chance have been rather recently, about the time that nut-case books like "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" did so? Anyone who takes that book or its fictional successor seriously, or imagines there ever is or was a "Priory of Zion", let alone bizarre connections with the Merovingian kings, Rennes le Chateau, etc etc etc is welcome to attach any silly meaning that he or she likes to these letters. All he/she will demonstrate is his/her own fatuous gullibility.

Dan Brown
Congrulations Ferhat ,Your theory is the best

Henrik Jerner
I would like to present what I call a new solution to the enigma. If you convert the letters DOUOSVAVVM into ciffers you got: 4 15 21 15 19 22 1 22 22 13 Then you put these into Coordinates, and you get:41¤52'11.51"N 9¤22'12.22"Erest is 213 which means bac.Check it and you will find yourself at Corsica, and look after a Bac. Good luck

Ferhat Kanarya
I deciphered the Shugborough Code. I released the solution at my website www.gradale.comThe Holy Grail is hidden in Istanbul, Turkey.

Andrew Baker
I have researched Shugborough for (gulp) 25 years and thee is not the slightest trace of esoteric interest in the Anson family. Thomas Anson was mainly inspired by Greek art and literature and lady Anson knew Poussin's Shepherds of Arcadia well - almost certainly as an expression of stoicism - Poussin was a stoic and one of Lady Anson's friends translated stoic philosophy into English.The most sensible explanation I know of is that it is the initial letters ofOrator ut ominia sunt vanitas ait vanitas vanitorum"Vanity of vanity saith the preacher, all is vanity"The Latin is a correct literal translation of the English bible, not the version in the Latin bible.This is the only explnation that matches the stoical meaning of the picture.For a lot more info visit Shugborough's website and look for "the Academy"

Maikel Harmsen
read it backwards then u get:Mascul(in)us Vulgo Vocatus Ad Valorem Sacro Oleo Obierunt Ubi Decollatus.and that means: Forceful, in the people mouth, calculated to value, Sacred Oliesel, where his survive, beheaded. i really have no cleu what that means

mel stanley
if one were to take each of the top line, as it relates to a number, then take each of the numbers as an hole number, to it's coresponding letter of the alphabet, in order that you make them weigh the same,now take one letter from the front and back working inward they resemble a colour code or star location??? AB,EB,BB,AB,AA,EB,AB,note also the similarity in the order of the letters??it's all food for thought. then one could even take the first four round letters,?? against the second four sharp letters,?? write the alphabet into a block of six, once again they weigh the same 14.that then being 5 the root number of knowledge ??????

mel stanley
hi i fail to see the link to the Holy Grail, though as i have said previous, if the way i read / understand it as hebrew chapters and verse, then on the same subject. the only other thing mentioned is the ark of the covenant and it's construction

mel stanley
Hi it seems to me that the code, when following basic numerology, points to chapter and verses of the hebrew bible (Subjecting all things under his feet." In "subjecting" all things (to him), he left nothing not "subject to him." Yet at present we do not see "all things subject to him,")then followed by..... (Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, 2 and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices)1 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, 2 and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices )this plus two other versesthen goes over my head with third dimesion though there seems to be some thing eles in vavv just may it is tulugu poetry????

L French.
Reference the above. The answer is yes, so far as I am concerned. Three newspapers, hopefully, will an outline of the solution. Staffordshire Newsletter, Wolverhampton Sentinel and Stoke on Trent Express and Star. Bletchley Park have also sent my letter addressed to Mr. Lawn - for his information and interest. If you wish to know more, you can either contact the newspapers mentioned or, alternatively, contact me at the telephone number given above. The monument is of international importance and its cipher predates those at the centre of the Rennes le Chateau enigma. The monument is a quest and the answer to it lies in France - not in Staffordshire. But why Shugborough? I cannot answer this.

no name
it is the location and also a warning and consist of precise days and events. should man have this knowledge? I dont know just yet but I would like to contact Oliver Lawn and a hint it is in 8 different languages.


Duncan Fishwick
There is no "Code" at Shugborough. The letters are a Latin inscription written entirely in abbreviations. Free translation: "In accordance with his vow her husband laid to rest the bones of his beloved wife". The reference is to Lady Elizabeth York nee Anson, wife of Admiral George Anson.

Madelon Greve
Clifton Power is telling the truth. Why did the BBC put that squiggle and nonsense comment after his entry???

Clifton Power
I have completely solved the inscription DOUOSVAVVM. I describe the solution fully in my book 'Arcadia: The Solution to the Templar Code', published June 2006.

O·U·O·S·V·A·V·V D M It means nothing. An old hoax.

Well since i read Wayne Herschel was in this same article I can't help but think arn't maps copyrightable? like expression, "threatened my publicist" you say wayne! No bloody wonder, the stars a pyramid and the pyramids a star was copyrighted by anyway you Dan Brown and others must have been creative in March 2003 mmm Good on ya mate!

Andrea Preston
I am currently engaged on writing a book about the Exodus. Co-incidently I am at the stage where Joseph's brothers go down to Egypt. It was a silver cup that was placed in Benjamin's sack, the object being to allow Joseph's brothers to redeem themselves.
Staffordshire was a Catholic hotbed of powerful, families linked to each other through marriage and through the court. Charles II hid in the area, the Gunpowder plot has associations with the area and Mary Queen of Scots took refuge in a castle near Shugborough Hall.
Noting the date that the Holy Grail is supposed to have been brought back to Shugborough gives a big clue to the meaning of the monument, i.e. the Jacobite Rebellion. The Catholic families had to keep a low profile, hence priest holes etc. The monument depicts the adoration of the shepherds at the nativity. The woman is the Virgin Mary,she is on her own, mourning the loss of her son, but of course the tomb is empty(the nativity and the grave are closely linked, from life to death to rebirth in Heaven/Arcadia).
The inscription, I believe reveals the faith of the owner. The three V's join together to form the glyph of the Virgin Mary. The letters A&M , Ave Maria, and as for the letters, D O U O S, there is a letter missing to hide the word, Doulos- Greek for Slave or Servant. In other words this is the owners' own adoration of the Virgin Mary. It is hidden because of the great dangers involved in being a Catholic, hence the use of codes, including playing cards and songs.
To confirm this, there are a number of ancient chapels marked within the area dedicated to the Virgin Mary, together with a priory, 'The White Ladies'. If you join up a line between the two churches of All Saints and the Virgin Mary with the priory, then you will see one of the triangles that appear on Poussin's painting, when geometry is applied.

Wayne Herschel (author)
Hi What a coincidence… you have publicised the monument virtually the same time as the book that proposes a solution to the code is launched. (see weblink) There must be higher forces at play here. The monument is part of a bigger story and you are welcome to run with it as it hits the American media. The story is at click on DaVinci paintings (link with flame)see aditional clues and wait for the unveiling next month There are enough additional clues now for the public to decode the inevitable! All one must realise here is that the solution is the same for ALL the artwork. you might be more interested in the ancient star map material relating to this 'code' found at Stonehenge. I fly to London in two weeks time, if you want the obvious solution in advance or an interview I might consider exclusivity. I put the solution in on display at the Westminster Archives a short while ago but someone threatened my publicist and no media came to the event! There are people that are trying to prevent this solution being made public. Kind regards Wayne Herschel (author) wayhersc@iafrica Author

Louis Saayman
D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M Take the AD out because it refers to a date. OUOS VVVM AD rearrange VVVM to MVVV OUOS MVVV AD Latin for "On account of 1015 AD" This is when King Canute came back to England. He got married to Queen Emma who was of the Clan Sinclair which completes the link with the Knights Templars, Rosslyn and the Grail

Louis J Saayman
I have sent you the solution by recorded delivery. Have you received it ?

Shane Wexford
Terrible case of dyslexia.

Luke Gourley
MMMMMM, sounds intresting!

if anybody is still interested in this, contact me.

[WEBMASTER says: if you would like to "chat" to each other on this subject, you can always use the main board - log on to, and click on "Chat"]

You may be interested in the following articles relating to Staffordshire. My research ties the monument, the staffordshire county council coat of arms and the Shugborough coat of arms to an ancient pagan religion related to the Merovingians. Research on the ancient African Dogon religion has found connections with the Merovingians.It also indicates that the Shughborough monument is an Operative Masonic Altar related to Elias Ashmole. Shannon Dorey

It is a map reference. The letters are Latin, and show a location,

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