Templar Mysteries

The Anson Family

In the English county of Staffordshire is a country estate, Shugborough Hall, that was built by the Anson family in 1656–1720. Among their number, Admiral George Anson (1697–1762) was famous for his naval reforms, heroics in the Seven Years’ War and his successful circumnavigation of the globe. In light of his achievements, no fewer than seven British warships have been named HMS Anson. Mention of him in The Larmenius Inheritance, however, is entirely fictitious. I have, though, used one of Shugborough’s more famous features as inspiration for the grounds of the Scottish estate. In the grounds of Shugborough are eight monuments, added by George Anson’s brother, Thomas, between around 1746 and 1765 and allegedly inspired by George Anson’s round-the-world voyage. In this novel, there were four monuments, all of which were placed in strategically important positions.

Among the monuments at Shugborough is the Shepherd’s Monument: lying in an isolated position, surrounded by hedges, close to the Doric Temple. The monument is a sculpted relief of the Poussin painting, though the image is mirrored. In this novel, I have included a similar monument for the paintings by Guercino.

Shugborough’s Shepherd’s Monument is equally famous for its inscription. That inscription, matching the one I have used in my novel, has never been accurately deciphered, though many have tried – including me. Theories of its meaning are wide-ranging, including everything from a location of the Holy Grail to a love letter from Anson to his wife. According to certain researchers, a code exists – a combination of the words and specific positions of the shepherds’ hands in the monument – and thus marks the words Nova Scotia, matching the Acadia theory. Up to this point, previous investigators have connected this not to New Ross but Oak Island. Precisely what exists down in the mysterious “Money pit” is anyone’s guess. My own belief is that the pit predates the Templars. It is also my view that the Shugborough monument has nothing to do with the Templars or the Holy Grail.

But it does have another great claim to fame. In the novel, I included a four-verse riddle on the back of the Guercino painting. A real quatrain written by Nostradamus inspired this.

Quand l’efcriture D.M. trouvée,
Et cave antique à lampe defcouverte,
Loy, Roy, & Prince Ulpian efprouvée,
Pavillon Royne & Duc fous la couverte

The real history of the Anson family is itself worthy of interest. It is known that the family owned at least one copy of the Poussin painting – in a separate painting, Lady Anson can be seen holding it.

But strangely, Guercino has received very little attention compared to Poussin. Why is this? And how about some of these theories that the title Et In Arcadia Ego is an anagram? If Et In Arcadia Ego is an anagram concerning something of great importance, does it not hold that the Guercino painting contains that same hidden meaning? Does it not also hold that the Guercino painting is the more important of the two as it is older?