Hand: Main Hand, BL Harley Ch. 43.C.4

Main Hand
BL Harley Ch. 43.C.4
S.1494 and 1486. saec. xi
Saec. xi
Unknown (Bury?)

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

Main Hand. The script was written with a thin pen and angular letter-forms; its appearance is rather scrappy, and the size of letters, the pen-width, and the degree of lateral compression all vary throughout the document. Ascenders are fairly long, fairly thin, and usually show small wedges of varying quality. Descenders are also thin and straight, and are at least as long as the longest ascenders. Minims usually have prominent approach-strokes and roughly constructed feet. Caroline a was used, the back of which is fairly thick and straight, the hook of which is sharp at the top, and the loop relatively small and relatively flat. Two forms of æ are found. The first is found most often with a tall e in ligature with following t for æt: it shows a very round, full a-component and a rounded e-component. The second form has a small and more teardrop-shaped loop for the a-component which hangs from cue-height and does not reach the base-line, and the diagonal back of the e-component extends down to base-line. Round c was used, as were both round and horned e, although horned e is much more common. The tongue of e and æ can be joined to following letters, especially to a. The back of d is relatively long, slightly broken, and usually angled at about 60° but sometimes closer to 40°. The tongue of f is short and slightly rising but straight, and the hook is angular. A very open tail is found on g, and the mid-section is often small and hanging from the centre of the top-stroke; the tail tends to reach forward under the following letter, then to curve back roughly horizontally but slightly concave up, and the top is long and can be slightly concave up. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r vary somewhat, and the stroke usually rises slightly from below cue-height and then turns downwards fairly sharply but at varying angles. These letters can be vertical, backward- or forward-leaning, although the second stroke of r is usually angled back towards the left and then turns out horizontally to the right. Low s is most often found, the hook of which is angled and branches from below cue-height, but long s was used before t and the round form occurs very occasionally and usually as the initial letter of a proper noun (stocy, sibrihte, but also hestod). The structure of ð is exactly like that of d, and the through-stroke is small, thin, rising, and hooked down on the right. The bowl of þ is very angular, and this letter was used far more frequently than ð. Straight-limbed, dotted y is found throughout. The top of 7 has a prominent upward hook on the left and rises to the right, and the vertical stroke is angled slightly to the left.

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