Hand: Main Hand, Exeter 2530

Main Hand
Exeter 2530
Saec. xi

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

Though not particularly messy, this hand has an unpractised appearance, and the letters vary in execution. A medium-width pen was used and was held fairly flat. The bodies of letters are fairly square in proportion, and the hand is slightly forward-leaning. Ascenders are about the length of minims and have small wedges which can tend towards barbs. Descenders are straight but tapering. Minims can curve out to the right, particularly in m and n, and have angular approach-strokes and small horizontal feet. Single-compartment a is found with a vertical back, a wide body, a fairly straight but rising top, and a thick lower curve. The same structure is found in æ, the tongue of which is close to cue-height and the loop usually above cue-height when joined to a following g, t, minim, or descender, even though the following letter retains its wedge if it had one. Round c is found throughout. The back of d is long, thick, angled at about 30°, and usually straight but sometimes vertical-tipped. Round e was used throughout, the hook of which is taller than it is wide and often extends slightly above cue-height, and the tongue is just below cue-height, usually horizontal, and sometimes joined to the following letter as for æ. The tongue of f is long and flat. The top of g is flat, the mid-section is narrow and often quite angular, and the hook is wide, open, and turned up at the tip. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are all very rounded and the strokes thicken slightly before turning back in a little to the left. Tall s is found before c, p, and t, as well as twice in the word fyrse (both in line 5); round s was sometimes used initially and never elsewhere; otherwise low s is found. Tall s descends just below the base-line and has a forward-reaching hook below ascender-height; the back was formed with a single stroke, and a thin rising stroke was added at cue-height to form the wedge. Caroline s+t ligatures were used routinely. Round s is somewhat stretched laterally, and the upper hook is quite angular. The scribe mostly followed the conventional distinction between þ and ð but often wrote , and also ðam. The structure of ð is much like that of d: the back is straight, angled at about 30°, and often vertical-tipped, and the through-stroke is hooked down. Round, undotted, essentially bilinear y was used throughout.

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