Hand: Main Hand, BL Cotton Ch. viii.38

Main Hand
BL Cotton Ch. viii.38
Saec. xi

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

The aspect is square and shows a strong downward pressure apart from tall-e ligatures and the occasional, slightly tall d. Ascenders are straight, quite thick, and quite short, and wedges vary but are generally quite triangular though not always especially prominent. Descenders are also straight, thick, and very short. Minims are short, straight, and show prominent, very triangular wedges and no or very small feet. Square a appears throughout but is not especially flat-topped. Flat-topped horned æ is found, sometimes in a bulging ligature with following descenders. Round c was used throughout. The back of d is relatively long, rises at a variety of angles, and can be more or less straight. Horned e is found throughout, the eye of which is somewhat squinting and sometimes rises very slightly above cue-height. Tall-e ligatures show a thick, wedged minim-stroke and a large, thinner, bulging top-stroke which reaches to the far edge of following minim or descender. The tongue of f is very thin and short. An angular, 3-shaped g is found with a large top, an angular mid-section, and a small round loop which sits somewhat to the left of centre; the letter is therefore not unlike that of G.399-1. The shoulders of h, m, and n are fairly rounded, and the down-stroke is not especially upright. Two forms of r can be found: the first is regular, but the second has a very short descender, and the end of the minim-stroke curves downward so that the letter looks much like the majuscule R. All three forms of s were used: round s is common, low s was most often used at the end of words, tall s is found before p and wynn, often with the hook reaching down to cue-height in a false ligature. Tall s is also found twice in final position, but these both look like insertions. The scribe observed the conventional distinction between þ and ð. The body of þ is quite triangular and not unlike that of G.366-4. The back of ð is long but relatively thin, angled at about 60°–70° and turned up slightly at the tip; the through-stroke is long, very thin, fairly horizontal, curves up on the left, and is sometimes hooked down on the right. Three-stroke x was used throughout, the upper branches of which turn down, the lower right branch turns up, and the lower left branch is long and hooked to the right. One example of straight-limbed y can be found (sy, line 11), but the f-shaped form is normally used; neither is dotted. The top of 7 has a prominent hook on the left and rises slightly, and the descender is quite vertical.

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