Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Search on to decipher Gothic text

Cathderal wall inscription reconstructed - Pic: John Crook
A reconstruction of the text discovered behind the Henry Hyde monument

A Gothic inscription recently discovered hidden behind a monument at Salisbury Cathedral is now thought to date from the 15th Century.

The text was found in January when experts moved the Henry Hyde monument from the south aisle wall to clean it.

Archaeologist Tim Tatton-Brown said: "The basic questions of what exactly the words are and why it was written on the cathedral wall remain unanswered.

"It would be wonderful for us to solve the mystery."

He added: "I originally surmised it dated from the 16th Century, bearing in mind the monument was erected soon after 1660. Our researches now suggest it was written a century earlier and therefore pre-dates the Reformation.

"Study of this by specialist academics is leaning towards the text being written in the 15th Century, a period when English was, for the very first time, being used just occasionally in preference to Latin which was then the norm."

Dr John Crook, an independent historian, said: "There are clearly several lines of a large textual inscription. There seems to be a phrase, 'and we are c…', but so far we have not been able to work out more.

"If anyone thinks they can identify any further letters from the enhanced photographs, please contact us via Salisbury Cathedral website and I can trace them in."

The conservators' work on The Hyde Monument has now been completed, the monument has been put back on the wall and the text is once again hidden from view.



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