Hand: Main Hand, Edinburgh, UL Laing Charter 18

Main Hand
Edinburgh, UL Laing Charter 18
Saec. xi1

Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)

This irregular and messy hand was written with a medium-width pen and some shading; letters vary quite a bit, as does the cue-height. Ascenders vary but are usually long, fairly straight, and with small wedges. Descenders can be quite short and tapering. Minims have approach-strokes or large blobby wedges and lack feet; they tend to be fairly upright, but are often quite rounded, particularly in m and n. Teardrop-shaped a was used throughout, the back of which is usually quite vertical but can be angled as much as 60° or so and often descends slightly below the bottom of the bowl. A similar construction was used for æ, the loop of which is rounded and always low even when ligatured with following t, and the tongue is straight and rising. Round c was used throughout, and d has a straight back angled at about 30–40°. Horned e is found, the back of which is vertical, the tongue thin, straight and rising, and the hook sometimes flat and slightly open. The tongue of f can be long or short, and the hook is rounded and can rise above cue-height. The angular mid-section of g hangs from the right of the flat top-stroke, and the tail is open and curved up slightly at the tip; the letter is therefore 3-shaped. The shoulders of h, m, and n are quite rounded and branch from below cue-height, but r tends to be more angular and to have a straighter down-stroke which turns out in a horizontal hook. Tall, low, and round s were all used; the tall form is most frequent and apears in all positions, low s is only found finally, and round s only once (geres, line 9). Tall s varies in form but can sit on the base-line and usually has a long arching hook which can reach well over the following letter. Low s is deeply split, and the hook can also reach above cue-height, and round s was clumsily formed, is disproportionately large, and extends slightly above cue-height and below the base-line. A clumsy, forward-leaning s+t ligature is also found in the name alhstan epis. The scribe preferred ð to þ, using the former in all positions and the latter only initially and in the name-element æþel (but note æðered, name 6 in column 2). The form of ð is much like that of d but usually with a longer back which can turn up at the tip or be slightly wedged, and the through-stroke is hooked down at the tip. The south-west arm of x reaches well below the base-line. Round and straight-limbed undotted y were used. The top of 7 is relatively short and has a prominent upward hook on the left; it then rises before turning down with a straight but slightly angled descender. The only Latin is the opening formula which is not distinguished by script.

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