Hand: Main Hand, BL Stowe Ch. 36

Main Hand
BL Stowe Ch. 36
Saec. x/xi
Unknown (Westminster archive)

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

This hand has an irregular, spidery appearance due largely to the thin pen, the pointed letters, and the very tall and narrow form of s. The letters are often backward-leaning but can also be upright or forward-leaning. Ascenders are approximately as long as minims and have small approach-strokes, and the tips of descenders turn slightly left and are very slightly tapering. Minims are also irregular and can either have a small wedge or can be very curved with no wedge or separate approach stroke. The bottoms of minims can either end in points or have small, rising feet. A rounded, somewhat triangular form of a was used, sometimes with a small point at the top. The a-component of æ can be similarly rounded or can have the top and back formed by a single stroke, and the e-component sits high on the shoulder with a straight horizontal tongue. Both æ and e are conjoined with a following minim, descender, g or t, but never form a true ligature. Horned c was used and shows a small hook on top and either a single fairly straight diagonal stroke or a minim with a fairly horizontal but slightly concave-up stroke added at the bottom. The back of d is angled at about 30–45° but turns to the vertical or even back to the right; the length of the back varies but is invariably shorter and more angled than that of ð. Horned e was used throughout, the back of which was formed in the same manner as c or with a small horizontal approach-stroke for the horn. The tongue of e is horizontal and sits relatively high on the letter, and the hook is small and slightly bulging. The tongue of f is short and thick. The mid-section of g is first angled to left, then curves fairly sharply right, and finally swings in a closed loop which can be very rounded or can be slightly oblong and rotated approx 30° clockwise. The top of g is often slightly concave up and can have a small tick on left. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are quite rounded and can be somewhat bulging, and r has a long but fairly thin rising foot. Only tall s was used; it shows a prominent wedge at cue-height and a tall and narrow hook which rises well above ascender-height. The conventional distinction between þ and ð was maintained. The descender on þ is short, and ð has a long thin back which curves up and a steeply-angled through-stroke which is hooked down on the right. Straight-limbed, dotted y is found throughout, the left branch of which is curved left, the right branch hooked left, and the tail hooked right.

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