Hand: Main Hand, Canterbury Chart. Ant. C.1279, Red Book, no. 7

Main Hand
Canterbury Chart. Ant. C.1279, Red Book, no. 7
Saec. xi

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

This script is quite difficult to place in the context of Vernacular minuscule; though dated by Sawyer to the eleventh century, a date in the late tenth seems equally plausible except perhaps for the presence of horned c and e. The overall appearance is messy and the script looks unpractised; cue-height is fairly level except that the scribe often used tall forms of letters. A moderately thick pen was used with some shading, although the bounds tend to be lighter than the main body. The pen was held fairly flat, even though descenders are tapering, and the script has a slight forward lean. Unusually, the bounds are given after the witness-list, and the dimensions of the parchment are ‘portrait’ rather than ‘landscape’. Ascenders are about the length of minims and have small wedges or barbs. The top of a is usually slightly sloping but is straight, and the left side can be turned well out. The a-component of æ is more teardrop-shaped, and the e-component is tall and somewhat bulbous whenever it can be ligatured to a following minim or descender. Laid-back horned c is found and is usually ligatured to a preceding e. The back of d is short and close to horizontal but is slightly concave down and rises slightly above cue-height,. Horned e was used throughout, the back of which is vertical and the tongue high and curved up at the tip; tall e is also found much like æ. The tongue and hook of f are both close to horizontal but turn down sharply at the tip; they can be long or very short. The top of g is flat, and the mid-section hangs from the centre and can be rounded and fairly open or much smaller and more angular. In either case, the tail of g is fairly rounded but does not usually extend as far as the left end of the mid-section, instead finishing with a fairly tight but still open curve turned up at the tip. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are moderately rotund, although r can be more angular. Low s is normal, but the tall form is found before t in which case the s stands on the base-line and has a fairly low, very wide hook. Pendant i is found after t. The conventional distinction was largely followed between þ and ð (but ðærto, line 31). The structure of ð is very close to d: the back is short and straight but angled at about 45°, and the through-stroke is very thin indeed and lacks a hook. Three-stroke x was used, the upper branches curved down and the lower left branch long and hooked either up or right at the tip. Straight-limbed y was used most often, without a dot, and with the left branch close to vertical and both branches hooked left. An alternative form is also found which approximates round undotted y but seems to have been written in a single stroke and looks more like γ with the tail formed by a loop much like that in S.125-2. The top of 7 has a prominent upward stroke on the left but is otherwise straight and rising; the down-stroke is straight but angled slightly to the left. Latin is not distinguished by script.

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