Hand: Main Hand, Scheide W. H. Scheide Collection M140

Main Hand
Scheide W. H. Scheide Collection M140
Saec. x/xi

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

The script is transitional, showing features from Square and English Vernacular minuscules, and has been described as ‘dully imitative’ and ‘a collection of letter-forms stiffly independent of one another’.Ker, ‘The Manuscript’, p. 46. The weight and spacing of the script varies from heavy and square to fine and narrow. Ascenders have prominent and somewhat clumsy wedges, and descenders taper; the relative lengths of both vary, but they are normally slightly longer than minims. Minims have regular small wedges, or approach-strokes which branch from the curve of a preceding letter as can be found particularly in the combination on. The feet of minims are generally quite heavy and are horizontal. Square, flat-topped a appears throughout; it is imitative of Square minuscule but constructed like a u with an added horizontal top-stroke. The same form was used for æ, the hook of which is low and the tongue high and slightly rising. Round c and e were used throughout, although the a-component of æ can be horned. The back of d is consistently round but vertical-tipped. Ker reported thirteen occurrences of high-e ligature but that low e was often used before g and t, as in G.399-1 and ‘earlier Anglo-Saxon [i.e. Square] minuscule’.Ker, ‘The Manuscript’, p. 46. However, the true tall-e ligature is relatively infrequent and is open at the top. The tongue frequently joins following letter, whether or not the e is tall, and the head of low e can be very flat and angular, or quite round. The tongue of f is relatively short. The top of g often tapers or can be hooked up on the left, the mid-section hangs from the left, and the body is S-shaped. The shoulders of h, m, and n aremoderately rotund. The shoulder of r is quite angular and turns down into a vertical stroke with a rectangular, open space between this and the descender. Caroline r is found once (dohtor, line 51). Both long and low s were used, but the hook on long s is usually very small, and long s is found occasionally in final position. The conventional distinction between þ and ð was observed. The body of ð is identical to that of d, and the cross-stroke usually has a prominent downward hook, although this hook can be small or entirely absent. Both þ and wynn have very triangular loops, and the bilinear form of x was used throughout except in numerals where the south-west stroke is often long and hooked up at the tip. All three forms of y were used: the straight-limbed form is occasionally dotted but more often not, and neither round nor f-shaped y is ever dotted. The top of 7 is fairly narrow and very concave up.

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