Hand: Main Hand, CCCC 419
Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)
This rotund hand was mostly written with a relatively thin and flat pen but shows some shading and sometimes becomes thicker and more heavily shaded. Ascenders are approximately equal to minims in length and are topped with wedges which can become curved tapering forks. Descenders are of similar length and often curve out slightly to the left before turning back to the right, then left again at the tip. Minims are often rounded at the top and have long thin approach-strokes and horizontal feet. Rounded single-compartment a is normal, the top of which was formed in the same stroke as the back; the head is occasionally extended to ascender-height or beyond, forming what is essentially a Caroline letter, even in a vernacular and otherwise Insular context (a buton ende, p. 38/1; hærfesta, p. 38/7). The same rounded form was used for æ in which the lower curve of the e-component sometimes extends below the bowl of the a, and the hook sometimes reaches above cue-height in a rounded bulge. Both æ and e are normally bilinear, however, and have straight rising tongues which extend beyond what can be a very short hook. A horned form of a and æ was used very occasionally, the left side of which leans back. Both e and c are found in both horned and round forms; the horn is quite thick and short, and the back of the horned letter can be quite vertical but can also be angled diagonally. The back of d is angled at about 10º and usually reaches slightly above cue-height and no further left than the edge of the bowl; it sometimes has a small upward tick at the tip. The tongue of f is relatively short and can be tapering or straight, and the hook is also short. The tail of g is long and narrow: the mid-section hangs from the left of the relatively long top and can have very little curvature, and the tail is closed by a hairline, often sits left of centre, and can be comparatively wide. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are normally quite rounded and slightly swollen, although r can be more angular and can have a straighter down-stroke. Low and tall s were both used, the former most often but the latter sometimes initially and before t. Tall s sits firmly on the base-line and rises above ascender-height before turning right in an approximately horizontal hook, and low s can branch from well below cue-height. The conventional distinction between þ and ð was followed; the back of ð is very long, sometimes broken, and curves over on the left, and the through-stroke is hooked down on the right and tapers on the left. The south-west branch of xis long and hooked right, and the north-east curves up. Straight-limbed dotted y appears throughout, the two arms of which are angled fairly steeply, the tail curved slightly left, and the tip of the right arm hooked left. The top of 7 is slightly ~-shaped and rises to the right, and the descender curves slightly left. Latin is distinguished from Old English in script.