Medieval Writing
The History of w (2)

In the document hands and later cursive book hands, w develops an elaborate curly form in English books and documents. It is also huge compared to other lower case letters, even when it appears in the middle of a word. As vernacular languages become more prominent on both books and legal documents from the 14th century onwards, w has a bit more of a presence.

cursive book hand w This elaborate twirly example of w comes from a 14th century English cursive book hand. I think this should be called the English celebration w.
chancery w An English chancery writ in Norman French of the 14th century has exaggerated the upper loops of the curly w.
chancery w This example from a 14th century chancery warrant in Norman French shows the curly extravagant w being used in a relatively informally written cursive document hand.
charter w A slightly odd variant of the loopy w appears in a 15th century English private charter in the Latin language.
late chancery w This later 16th century Elizabethan example from a final concord shows how the English chancery retained the curly celebration w, along with some other conservative forms, long after the letter was being simplified in other contexts.
cursive w This very plain and cursive w comes from a very roughly written 15th century English petition, not written in the normal formal chancery style.
cursive w A similar plain, open and cursive version of w is found on a genealogical document of the late 15th or early 16th centuy, in English.
cursive w The slightly later notes added to the previous example, from the early 16th century, have produced a w that is still cursive, but distinctly lopsided, with one narrow pointy loop and a second rounded loop.
cursive w An example of personal handwriting from one of the 15th century Paston letters also employs the lopsided cursive w.
cursive book hand w The same basic form of w appears in a cursive book hand from around the beginning of the 16th century, from a devotional text in a dialect of Dutch or German.
document hand w This example comes from a late 15th century document in the German language. The script, while formal, has many forms derived from cursive. The w turns around in itself to form two closed loops.
The letter w is a bit of a slow starter, but eventually develops a number of variants. Some of these are highly recognisable, but some of the later simple cursive forms suffer from the same problems as all the letters composed of minims. They can blend into a general background of wiggly lines representing a range of letters.
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History of Scripts
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