Monday, March 8, 2010

Oldest example of written English discovered in church

What is believed to be the first ever example of English in a British church has been discovered.

It was written half a millennia ago and its message was serious enough to be painted carefully on the wall of England's finest cathedral.

But now it seems no one can quite decipher exactly what the inscription on the wall of Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire actually says.

It was hidden for 350 years behind a monument to a local aristocrat who was 'martyred' in the English Civil War for his support of King Charles I but rediscovered in January by astonished conservators.

And baffled experts have resorted to asking members of the public with a keen eye for deciphering puzzles to have a look at the text, and a computer-enhanced version, to see if they can help out.

Tim Tatton Brown, the cathedral's consultant archaeologist, explained: "The Cathedral's conservators quite unexpectedly found some beautifully written English text behind the Henry Hyde Monument on the cathedral's south aisle wall when the monument was temporarily removed as part of the on-going schedule of work.

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