Hand: Main Hand, BL Cotton Augustus ii.69
Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)
Though written with a thin pen and with long ascenders and descenders, many of the flat-topped forms were retained from Square minuscule. This, combined with the hand’s comparative regularity and the absense of tall ligatures, gives a fairly strong sense of cue-height. Ascenders are at least twice the length of minims, are sometimes backward-leaning, and have approach-strokes or small wedges which vary a good deal in form. Descenders are similar length and taper but are essentially straight. Minims are small, backward-leaning, and have small approach-strokes and very small or no feet. A fairly angular flat-topped a was used, the top-stroke of which is very thin and usually angled at about 15° but can be angled less or much more. The back of a is usually quite straight and angled at about 80°, and the left side is often at a similar angle but can be more rounded. A similar form was used in æ, the tongue of which is usually thin and rising and the eye small, but the tongue can be more horizontal and the eye wider. The lower stroke of c is thick, fairly straight, and angled at about 60°, and the hook is closer to horizontal; the resulting form is therefore close to horned. A similar structure was used for the back of e, the hook and eye of which are like æ. The back of d is very short and the bowl very small; although the back is straight and angled at about 30°, the letter is very close to bilinear. The tongue of f is very thin and slightly longer than the short hook. The top of g is very short; the tail hangs from the right, the mid-section is long but very narrow, and the tail is closed in a similarly narrow loop. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are neither particularly round nor angular, and the down-stroke of r is angled slightly inward. Long, low, and round s are all found: round only once (wylles, line 13), long before t (but also the first edswyðe, line 15), and low finally (but also the second edswyðe, line 15). The scribe used only þ in the charter-bounds but did use ð once in the witness-list (æþelnoð, line 17); here the back of ð is very thick, vertical-tipped, and has a very thin through-stroke which is turned down on the right. Straight-limbed dotted y was used throughout, the tail of which curves slightly left. The top of 7 is short, horizontal, and at cue-height, and the down-stroke is close to vertical. Latin is distinguished by script, although Dumville has written that it ‘can be characterised only as regressive’.Dumville, English Caroline Script, p. 134.