Hand: Main Hand, Bodleian Bodley 441 (2382)

Main Hand
Bodleian Bodley 441 (2382)
Saec. xi1
SE England

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

This hand starts off quite heavy and is relatively square in proportions but becomes lighter and more rapid further into the manuscript. Furthermore, the first and eight folios have slightly different aspect to the others and also feature tall narrow 7, the top of which can be particularly concave up, more prominent feet on minims, and a flat-topped a, the two sides of which bulge out to the left. However, the script is otherwise very similar, and I agree with Ker that they were probably written by the same scribe as the remainder of the manuscript.Ker, Catalogue, p. 376 (no. 312) The script is not particularly regular and has little sense of cue-height. Flat-topped a was used at first, but this quickly give way to a very rounded form, the lower curve of which can turn up to meet the back well above the base-line; this rounded form is not unlike that of S.1394 and 1399, both from Worcester and written in the late 1030s and early 1040s. A similar round form was also used for æ, the tongue being high and the hook rounded and often slightly above cue-height. A low ligature was also found early in the manuscript between æ and a following letter, but this quickly went out of use. The lower curve of c is long. The back of d is thick, straight, angled at about 60°, and with a slightly wedged tip; it is occasionally hooked down at the tip. The body of e is round and formed much like that of c; the tongue is high and flat, and the hook high and round, both like those of æ. The tongue of f is long and can be slightly rising or slightly tapering. The top of g can be flat or concave down; the mid-section is small, and the tail is large, rounded, and closed. The shoulders of h, m, n, and r are all very rounded and the strokes somewhat swollen; that of r turns slightly in to the left. Low s is predominant and can be ligatured to a following p, s, or wynn, but tall s is found before t. The scribe had a strong preference for ð over þ, but did write cwæþ. The back of ð is thick, straight, angled at about 70–80°, and is also wedged at the tip; the through-stroke is horizontal but turned up at the right. The upper left branch of x is hooked left, the upper right hooked right, the lower right hooked up, and the lower left long and hooked right. Straight-limbed dotted y was used, the right branch hooked left and the tail tapering. The top of z is normaly somewhat wavy, the diagonal stroke straight and extending below the base-line, and the lower horizontal stroke also waving. An alternative form is found in which the top starts at mid-height, curves down almost to the base-line, then rises to cue-height; the diagonal and lower stroke are as normal. The top of 7 is concave up, and the down-stroke starts slightly above the top-stroke.

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