Old English

Ian James
© January 2011


We may be familiar with the lovely penmanship of early English manuscripts, but more often than not we are looking at Middle English writing. Here, a closer look is given to the earliest forms of written English (Old English, Anglo-Saxon or Englisc), which exhibit great and unique charm.

Chart of letters

Most letter-forms survived into the printed works of Shakespeare’s time, and many have survived into the present day. The letters below are modeled on forms of around one thousand years ago, in particular the hand of the Exeter Book. Common abbreviations are also shown.

glyphs of Englisc
glyphs of Englisc

Sample text

This is a rendition in my own font of the first page of the famous first story in English, Beowulf (the initial letter is /h/):

first page of Beowulf (c) Ian James 2010
first page of Beowulf (c) Ian James 2010

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All material on this page © Ian James. Last modified Feb.12,2012