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

So, there you have it. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with the words you think MIGHT have been written on a church wall in England five hundred years ago.



  1. I believe it reads: Norbert you used our tithe and offering money to take Mimi for a holiday in Durban. Go and leave us in peace, you don’t deserve to be a priest! You are a tribalist and a womaniser!!

  2. “For a goode tyme, hasten to meet Sister Prudence behind ye olde rectory. Illicit congress shall ensue in haste thereafter.”

  3. To thine own Provincial Selves be thou most true and hasten not to with godly wisdom develop thine own approaches to local mission that thy ways might be enlightened verily by that Same Spirit of God which thereby enlightens all souls to the truth through divinely inspired Reason when it is appropriately conditioned upon the heights of human endeavour to equip said same Souls forthwith to do what make loving sense to them in their own contexts! Foresooth! Yeah! Verily!

  4. I am so glad you came to us with this challenge, Mad One. I can translate this on only one cup of tea. It is a list, from greatest to least, of the church hierarchy:

    altar guild

    You’re welcome.

  5. “For the benefit of My Kite
    There will be a show tonight
    On trampoline
    The Hendersons?…will…prance? and sing…”

    Thats all I can make out

  6. Most of it I can’t make out, but the bottom clearly says, “We are the world.” It’s the lyrics of that song they just re-recorded.

  7. “To all future altar boys: do NOT go with Father Aethelrede to “handle the relics”. Seriously: DON’T DO IT!”

  8. One creed to rule them all, One creed to bind them, One creed to bring them all, and in the darkness, bind them. In the land of Romulus, where the shadows lie.