THE letter k
appears to have had no distinct duty to perform in the oldest English, but to have been a mere variant of c.
In the MSS. (more particularly the Cotton) of Alfred's translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care, where in the words kyning, kyun
&c. it occurs not unfrequently, this writing is not uniform. Thus in Sweet's edition Angelkynn
is found p. 2, ll. 3, 13, but Angelcynn
l. 4 ; whilst in each case the Hatton MS. has c.
So in the following page in l. 10, kynn,
in l. 20, cynn.
On pp. 2, 3, l. 1 kyning
is the writing of both MSS. while pp. 34, 35, l. 14 it is cyning
: p. 32, 20-1 we find kyning, kynehad,
the Hatton MS. in the same passage has c
: p. 38, ll. 13, 18 kyning, kynestol,
where the Hatton MS. has cyning, kynestol
: pp. 6, 7, l. 18 both have kynerice
: p. 84, ll. 10, 12, 13 kynelic
occurs four times, in the Hatton MS. it is twice written with c,
twice with k.
On p. 212, l. 15 is found Crist,
while the Hatton writes Krist;
on p. 152, line 5 the Cotton MS. has kræft,
the Hatton MS. cræft.
On p. 459, ll. 29, 31, 32 (Hatton MS.) occur the forms kokka, kokkum, kok.
So in the Chronicle. Erl. p. 8, l. 15 kyning;
p. 6, l. 23 cyning
: p. 24, l. 1, kyning;
26, 1, cyning.
The later use with regard to the letter may be, to some extent, illustrated from the concluding years. For many years previous to 1111 the form is cyng,
in that year we have Kyng
Henri; again until 1122 the opening line of each annual contains the phrase Cyng
Henri, then until the end the spelling is k.
Words beginning with k
are to be looked for under c.