Hand: Hand 1 (lines 1–6), BL Stowe Ch. 37

Hand 1 (lines 1–6)
BL Stowe Ch. 37
Saec. xi1/4

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

This rotund, quite regular hand is relatively light but does show some shading. Ascenders are long and straight and show regular wedges or forks. Descenders are also long and can be straight but more often turn slightly left, and can have a short angled finishing-stroke. Minims are often slightly forward-leaning and can be rounded; they have relatively prominent approach-strokes and small feet. Single-compartment a was used throughout, the top of which is flat but often rising slightly, and the right side can be convex or quite straight, and the back upright or angled. The a-component of æ can be similarly angular but also has a round top; the tongue is straight and angled up, and the hook can rise slightly above cue-height. Tall æ is also found twice in a bulging ligature (þæs, and þæne, both in line 5). Round c appears throughout, the hook being shorter than the lower curve, and the back of d is very short, very slightly concave down, and angled at about 45°. Round e appears throughout, the body of which is quite rotund, and the eye can be squinting; like æ, the hook can rise slightly above cue-height, and the tongue is straight, rising, extends beyond the hook, and often turns up but is sometimes turned down at the tip. The tongue of f is often long, thin, and flat, but can also be short and concave up, and the stroke often extends just to the left of the down-stroke. The top-stroke of g often has small diagonal finials on both ends, the mid-section is rounded, and the tail curves in a very wide sweep before turning up and almost closing, the resulting loop being more or less oblong but always symmetrical through a vertical axis. The shoulders of h, m, and n are quite rounded, but that of r is much more angular. A small horn is also found on o, very much like that of c. The scribe seems to have preferred long s, although low s is sometimes found finally (cynges, line 2; þæs, lines 2 and 4; fetels, line 5; cristes, line 6), and once after long s (alyfednysse, line 1). Long s reaches down the full descender-length and up to ascender-height; the back can be somewhat curved and the hook is normally relatively small, although it does sometimes curve back down to meet the following letter (geswutelige, line 1; spræce, line 2; the first in swurdes, line 5). No example of ð is found, but the text does not allow for this if the conventional distinction between ð and þ was followed. Straight-limbed dotted y was used throughout, both branches of which are hooked left and the tail hooked right. The top of 7 is flat but hooked up at both ends, and the descender waves slightly but is largely vertical.

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