Joscelyn Font

jocselyn font

Jocselyn is an authentic secretary font based on the elegant hand of a scribe who produced the copy of Joscelyn's Historiola in MS Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 488. It is, as far as I know, the only attempt to produce an accurate and uncompromising reproduction of the notoriously difficult Renaissance secretary hand in a digital font, using OpenType features (mainly calt, Contextual Alternates, but also liga, Standard Ligatures) to represent the cursive and highly variable character of the hand.

The Joscelyn font is named for John Joscelyn (1529-1604), secretary to Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559 to 1575. Among the first Englishmen to recover the ability to read the Old English language, Joscelyn compiled an Old English dictionary, contributed to Parker's published works, and wrote Historiola Collegii Corporis Christi, a short history of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Parker's college.

Do not expect to use this font for any practical purpose, for secretary hand was a sort of dead end, at least in England - the last major outgrowth of the medieval cursive gothic script. Beginning in the seventeenth century, handwriting took a very different course, mainly based on the Humanist Italic hand. As a result, most modern readers find secretary hand to be nearly illegible.