Hand: Main Hand, BL Stowe Ch. 38
Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)
This regular hand has rotund bodies and very long ascenders and descenders, and was written with a medium-width pen and some shading. Ascenders are straight, two or more times longer than minims, and show long tapering approach-strokes which curve left at the deeply-split tops. Descenders are often long but are shorter than ascenders and can be no longer than minims; they are tapering and often turn slightly left. Minims are straight and fairly consistent, with small wedges and horizontal feet. Single-compartment a is found throughout; it can be very rotund with the top formed by the same stroke as the back, but this top can also be straighter and almost horizontal or angled at about 40°. A similar structure was used for æ, but the back of the a-component is less vertical and curves into the thick bottom-stroke of the e. The hook of æ is tall and somewhat rounded before a following descender or minim, and curves back to meet the tongue almost at the shoulder of the a-component; this tall form was used even though the following letter is not truly ligatured to the æ and indeed retains its wedge. Otherwise the hook is low and branches from below cue-height, meeting the flat, thin rising tongue almost perpendicularly. Round c was used throughout, the hook being slightly shorter than the lower curve, but the letter is otherwise well-balanced. The back of d is long, extends beyond the bowl, and often touches the preceding letter, but it always remains within cue-height and can have an angled finishing-stroke at the tip. Round and horned e both appear: the hook of round e meets the tongue perpendicularly, but the hook of horned e is flatter and turns back to the left before meeting the tongue at a sharp angle. In both cases, the lower curve often reaches back up to join the tongue which itself extends beyond the hook. The tongue of f is long and curves up at the tip, and the hook branches from below cue-height. The mid-section of g hangs from the middle or right of the narrow top-stroke and curves out to the left before swinging back under the following letter, and the tail closes in an approximately horizontal oblong with a hairline. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are all quite rounded and somewhat swollen, and the foot of r curves up and can be quite long. Long s was used almost without exception: it rises to ascender-height before curving smoothly into a relatively large hook and descends relatively little below the base-line. The one exception is a single occurrence of round s in the second word of the text, syndan; its relatively narrow hook rises above cue-height. The conventional distinction between ð and þ was observed, the latter having a comparatively short descender and the former a very long, thick, slightly upward-curving back and a long straight through-stroke with a downward hook. Straight-limbed dotted y was used throughout, the right branch of which is hooked left before curving down and left in a thin tail with an upward hook at the tip. Neither x nor 7 appear in the text. Latin was written in an early form of Style-IV Anglo-Caroline. An endorsement was also written in the same hand, perhaps even at the same time.