Hand: Older Main Hand, BL Cotton Vitellius C.v
- Older Main Hand
- BL Cotton Vitellius C.v
- Saec. x/xi
- SW England
Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)
The script has square proportions and was written with a relatively thick pen and some shading. The letters are fairly regular and are more or less upright. Ascenders and descenders vary in length but are similar to or slightly longer than minims. Ascenders have regular wedges which are fairly well formed but have flat tops and can be very slightly split, and descenders are straight and have a slightly pointed tip due simply to the angle of the pen. Minims have either wedges or tapering approach-strokes, although even the latter seem to have been formed with separate strokes. The left side of a is convex, and the top is flat. The same structure was used for æ, the hook of which is flat and at cue-height, the tongue angled upwards before curving to the horizontal, and the lower curve reaching beyond the hook; the tongue can also be turned down in final position. The same hook and tongue were used for e, and, although the structure of this letter is round, the lower curve can be quite angled, leaving a sharp point in the north-west quadrant where the curve and the hook meet. This same angularity is also found in c. The back of d is short, thick, and angled at about 45°. Tall open-e+t ligatures are found infrequently, as are æ+g and æ+t in which the loop is closed and curves back towards the left where it meets the horizontal stroke. The tongue of f is long, flat, and tapers at the tip. The tail of g is closed and rounded, and the mid-section hangs from the centre of the top-stroke which can itself have very small serifs at either end. The shoulder-strokes of h, m, n, and r are not swollen; the tops vary in thickness but the down-strokes are more consistent, and the foot of r can be small or larger and quite thick. High, low, and round s are all found but without any distinction in usage except that the round form seems to appear consistently after y or when doubled, and the low form was rarely used. Round s is quite laid back with the hook rising just above cue-height, and high s stands firmly on the base-line. Little distinction also seems to have been made between þ and ð, the back of the latter being similar to that of d but longer and with a downward-hooked through-stroke. The south-west branch of x is long but lacks a finial of any sort. Both straight and round dotted y are found, the right branch of straight-limbed y turning slightly left. The top of 7 wavers very slightly. Latin is not distinguished by script.