Hand: Main Hand, BL Harley Ch. 43.C.5

Main Hand
BL Harley Ch. 43.C.5
Saec. xi
Unknown (Wi?)

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

The script does not fit easily into any particular phase of Square minuscule, but it fits more easily into a tenth-century context than it does the eleventh. The hand is somewhat irregular but does not seem to be particularly imitative. The pen used was not especially thick but does have some shading and was held at a fairly steep angle. The boundary-clause was written in slightly smaller script than the main text but is otherwise not distinguished. Ascenders are smaller than minims and have small wedges, and descenders are usually longer and are tapering. Minims have regular wedges which can be quite heavy; they can be straight at the bottom or have small horizontal ticks. Teardrop-shaped a is found, as is a straighter and more steeply angled top. A similar structure was used for æ, the hook of which is tall, bulbous, and slightly open in ligature with a following minim or descender, or wider, slightly lower, and closed before t or g. The strokes of c are fairly well balanced, and the back of d remains essentially within cue-height. Horned e was used, sometimes backward-leaning; the tongue is high, horizontal, but turned up at the tip, and tall ligatures are found like those of æ. The tongue of f is long and flat. The mid-section of g is small, hangs from the right, and curves down and right before turning around in a large open tail which is turned up at the tip. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are all rounded, and the strokes are swollen. Low and Caroline s were both used with little distinction. Long pendant i is found after t. Only þ was used. The upper right branch of x is hooked left, and the lower right branch is long and hooked right. Straight-limbed, undotted y was used, the left branch of which curves left and the right is hooked left. The top of 7 is of medium length and is slightly concave up. Latin is not distinguished by script, although the o 2 monogram and Caroline s are found in both Latin and Old English. Round s is found also in the Latin text, and often extends well above cue-height both initially and finally.

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