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Using two (highly speculative) methods, I came up with the following: Method 1: ('Right', 'Hood' and '16th' - in that order - are the only words I could decipher. Everything else is structured around those three words. Punctuation added for the sake of convenience.) Option A) RIGHT HERE, HOOD. REIGNED AS DAVID UNTIL 16TH Meaning: Buried here is Hood - presumably the original inspiration for the fabled Robin Hood. He 'ruled' as David/Dabid (i.e. 8th Earl of Huntingdon - commonly associated with Robin Hood) until the 16th. The Earl died on 17th June, therefore the 16th would have been the last time he 'reigned' for a full day. Option B) RIGHT AND TRUE, HOOD REIGNED UNTIL 16TH Meaning: Roughly the same, but instead of specifying his burial location, it names his virtues. Doesn't connect 'Hood' to the Earl. Option C) [RIGHT AND TRUE or RIGHT HERE], HOOD, SON OF DAVID, THE 16TH Meaning: First bit as above. The rest is a bit sketchy. It proposes that 'Hood' was John, the son of the above-mentioned David. John was the 9th Earl of Huntingdon and 7th Earl of Chester - 9+7=16. Method 2: (Inscription is divided into three segments as below) Part i: NOMINE DOMINI (Short for, 'In the Name of The Lord') Part ii: FROM CALEDONIA, [The] HONOURABLE DAVID, RULER [of] HUNTINGDON (Latin: Ex Caledonia Honorabilis Dabid* Rex Huntingdon) (*Dabid being Welsh, not Latin) Part iii: 16TH (same date as in method 1) If this is correct, then the sword would have been made after his death, either as a grave marker or a tribute. This last fact could possibly be confirmed by examining the state of the sword. If it does not appear to have been used in battle, then it would indicate that it was merely plunged into the ground or thrown out to sea shortly after being manufactured. Then again, 600-or-so years under water and another 200 in a museum may render any such investigation inconclusive.
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Aug 8, 2015