Hand: Main Hand, BL Cotton Augustus ii.24
- Main Hand
- BL Cotton Augustus ii.24
- Saec. xi1
Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)
The charter-bounds were written in a small hand with a relatively thin pen, and the aspect is dominated by the small bodies, long thick ascenders, and very large wedges, as well as by the prominent back of ð. As noted, ascenders are very long, two to three times the length of minims, are usually tapering, and are deeply split or have very heavy wedges. In both cases a stroke trails off to the left, and it appears that the split ascenders were formed in the same way as the wedges but without an additional stroke to close the top. Descenders are shorter but still longer than minims; they usually taper but occasionally have a short rising finial (post, line 24). Minims are small, somewhat curved, and slightly forward-leaning, and show short approach-strokes and small horizontal feet. Teardrop-shaped a was used throughout, the back of which is thick and sometimes vertical but often angled at about 60° or less. A wider and more rounded form was used for æ, the tongue of which is horizontal at cue-height and the hook forms a small rounded loop even when not in ligature. Round c was used throughout. The back of d is usually angled at about 30–45°, can be straight or curved down or hooked up, and is longer and close to bilinear when initial. Horned e was used throughout, the small hook of which is at cue-height, the tongue horizontal or slightly rising, and the eye fairly low but relatively wide although not nearly as flat as in Phase-V Square minuscule. The tongue of f is short, and the hook very short, but the tongue extends well to the left of, and is sometimes almost bisected by, the down-stroke. The top of g is short and tapers, the mid-section is very small but hangs from the centre, and the tail is wide and open, extending well under the preceding letter and hooked up at the tip. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are all rounded and tend to bulge out to the right before swinging in to the left. Long and low s are both found, long initially, before c and t, and low finally, although long s is sometimes found finally and particularly towards the end of the text. Round s was also used twice, but these were perhaps intended as capitals since one appears almost immediately after a mark of punctuation (7 Swa after punctus on line 24), and the other at the start of a line (Sices, line 25). A form of s+t ligature looking much like the Caroline r+t is found once (post, line 24). The scribe preferred ð to þ, using the former in the conventional position but also initially in demonstrative pronouns and articles; the high frequency of these words in the formulaic text combined with the prominent form of ð means that the aspect is dominated by this letter. The back of ð is very long and very thick, angled at about 45°, and usually reaches beyond ascender-height; the tip can be turned slightly up or down, and the through-stroke is high, relatively short, and curved slightly down on the right. Straight-limbed dotted y is found throughout: the letter is fairly narrow with steep branches and tail, and the right branch is hooked left and the thin tail sometimes hooked up. The first, left-right stroke of x is thick, and the second much thinner, turned right at the top, and descends in a wispy stroke which barely reaches below the base-line. The top of 7 is flat and at cue-height, and the descender begins slightly above cue-height and drops vertically; an alternative form is found once after punctus which begins at ascender-height and descends in a waving stroke well below the base-line. Latin is distinguished by script, although the hand has been described by Dumville as ‘very poor’.Dumville, English Caroline Script, p. 134. A single phrase in the main text was written in Old English (æt niwanham, line 7), and both this and the names in the witness-list were written with Insular letter-forms.