Hand: Hand 3 (fols. 19–25), BL Cotton Otho B.ii

Hand 3 (fols. 19–25)
BL Cotton Otho B.ii
Saec. x2 or x/xi
SE England

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

This hand is similar in aspect to G.39-2 but with a somewhat messy appearance. The bodies of letters are fairly large, the script fairly light, and the pen held fairly flat with shading but with rounded strokes. Despite the long ascenders and descenders, the script lacks the ‘tall and narrow’ aspect due to the wide bodies of letters. Ascenders are long, straight, and have clumsy wedges, and hairline strokes which reach from horizontally to the left to the tips of the wedges. Descenders are long and straight. Minims have curved or hooked tops and rising hooked feet. The body of a is a poorly-formed teardrop shape or semi-Caroline and is sometimes fully Caroline. The same range of forms are found in æ, the tongue of which is horizontal and can be quite high, and the eye is squinting. Horned e is found, the tongue and eye similar to those of æ, and the lower curve can be very short which gives the letter a top-heavy feel. Both e and æ can also form low ligatures with following letters including x, and tall-e ligatures are very occasionally found (eow, 23r26). Round c was used, as was d with a moderately long and fairly straight or concave down back which is angled at about 45°. The tongue of f is flat and long, and the hook branches from close to the base-line. The top of g is also flat, the mid-section rounded but sometimes very small, and the tail open, rounded, hooked up at the tip, and ending left of the letter. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r all vary in rotundity but each show the same variation as the others. Long s is found initially before t, c, and wynn, but otherwise the low form was used; round s is, however, found in the abbreviation scs. The scribe much preferred þ to ð. The body of ð is like that of d, and the through-stroke is hooked down on the right. The south-west branch of x is long and curved up at the tip. Straight-limbed dotted y is normal, the right branch hooked left, but round dotted y is sometimes found, particularly towards the end of the scribe’s stint, and straight-limbed y can lack the dot. An essentially bilinear z is found, with ~-shaped strokes on the base-line and at cue-height and a diagonal stroke which reaches slightly below the baseline and curves down at the tip. The top of 7 is hooked up on the left and is concave up, and the descender is vertical.

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