Hand: Main Hand, CUL Ff.1.23 (1156)

Main Hand
CUL Ff.1.23 (1156)
Saec. xi1

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

The first hand has a rounded, messy aspect with much variation. The scribe mostly used a very thick pen with much shading, although he used a thinner and more rounded pen as the work progressed. Ascenders are short with irregular and often slightly split wedges. Descenders can lean backwards or have a distinct leftward curve and can have foot-serifs. Minims normally have short, horizontal feet and approach-strokes or small wedges. Round a appears sporadically, but semi-Caroline a is more frequent. Round æ is found, the hook of which sits slightly above cue-height and the tongue of which is straight and rising. A tall bulging æ+t ligature is also found. Round c was used mot often but horned c is found very occasionally. The back of d itself is always rounded and barely rises above cue-height. Round and horned e are found, as is an intermediate form with round body and very small horn; the eye is somewhat squinting, and the tongue is often extended or can be angled upwards. Tall e is also found even when not in ligature; it has a vertical back, a prominent horn, and a horizontal tongue at cue-height. The tongue of f is flat, on the base-line, and can extend through the vertical, and the hook is short. The mid-section of g starts left of centre and bulges further in that direction before turning into a tail which is rarely closed but is often very close and which tends to be tighter later on in the manuscript. The shoulders of m and n are rounded, although h tends to be more angular, and final n can be majuscule, especially at ends of lines. The down-stroke of r is often angled back to the left and has a prominent hook right. Low s is most common, the hook of which is angular and deeply split. Tall s was sometimes used, the vertical of which often descends slightly below the base-line, and the hook can be very prominent and can reach over the following letter; the hook can be long and looped in final position, and especially at ends of lines. A Caroline s+t ligature was used in the word apostolus (especially around folios 266 to 280). Majuscule s is also found but is rare. The conventional distinction was followed between þ and ð. The back of ð is thick, long, and curves left at the top; the cross-stroke does not always pass through the back and is usually hooked down at the end but may have a separate, approximately vertical finishing stroke. Bilinear x was used, the right-to-left stroke being hooked left at the top and right at the bottom. Straight dotted y was used throughout, but round undotted and straight undotted forms are also found. Bilinear z has a ~-shaped top and bottom and a thin diagonal-stroke which does not extend below the base-line. 7 is quite angular with a flat top and straight descender. Latin was first distinguished by script, but the scribe quickly began introducing Insular letter-forms and soon wrote the Latin in Vernacular minuscule.

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