Hand: Main Hand, BL Cotton Ch. viii.20

Main Hand
BL Cotton Ch. viii.20
Saec. x/xi

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

The script is a quite heavy, rough, and late form of Square minuscule. Ascenders and descenders are quite short and thick, and ascenders have roughly-formed wedges which usually trail off to the left or are tapering. All letters with descenders are deeply split and branch at the lowermost tip of the descender, although it is unclear whether or not they were formed with a single stroke. Minims have small, approximately horizontal feet, and either heavy, rough wedges, or a long stroke joined to the previous letter, especially to preceding e. Both a and æ are horned, and the side strokes can be either upright or diagonal; the latter form is normal when the letter is ligatured to preceding e, and is very much like that of G.442-1. Round e is normal, although a straight-backed horned form is usually found in ligature; these ligatures show thin, tall loops and were used whenever possible, including before a and æ. Both e and æ can also be conjoined to the following letter without being a true ligature, particularly before c, d, and descenders, and in the final of these cases the wedge of the following letter is retained. A prominent, horned c is found most often, although round c was also used. The back of d is long, fairly thick, straight, and angled at about 45°. The tongue of f is slightly longer than the hook and is concave up. The mid-stroke of g hangs in the middle or slightly right of centre, the tail is round, open, and approximately horizontal at the tip, but the form is essentially S-shaped. The shoulders of h, m, and n are usually rounded, and the strokes bulge slightly. Low s appears throughout except for the tall form before t, in which case the hook reaches down to cue-height in a false ligature. Tall s has exactly the same shape as, but is slightly taller than, the loop of tall e. The scribe used ð exclusively in preference to þ except for þas at the beginning of the charter-bounds and suþ at the end of line 19. The structure of ð is the same as that of d, and the through-stroke is thin and rising, barely crosses the back, and is curved down on the right. Three-stroke x was used, the upper branches of which are curved down, the lower right branch curved up, and the lower left branch is long and hoooked up. Straight-limbed and curved y are both found, and both are dotted. The top of 7 is convex, as is the vertical, though only very slightly.

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