Anglo-Saxons originally wrote Olde English in symbols called runes. When they
adopted the Roman script, it did not have a letter to represent the w sound of
the rune wynn. The Latin u was closest they could come, so seventh-century scribes
used uu to denote the wynn sound. Although the rune was more popular in England,
the French and the Germans adopted the letter uu. Norman invaders brought the
uu back to England in the eleventh century and it eventually replaced the rune.
Early printers sometimes used vv for a lack of a w in the type, but the name “double