( Originally Published Late 1800's )
I have observed that popular traditions, however obscure, may generally be traced to some source, and that their obscurity originates as much in the uncertainty of our ancient language as in the imperfections of oral tradition. The following conjecture upon a village tradition is founded on this principle. The tenor of the old peal of bells that hung formerly in the steeple of St. John's Church, Margate, in Kent, was inscribed "Daundelyon," and Lewis says, in his "History of the Isle of Thanet," that this was the gift of John Daundelyon to the church, and that in his time the inhabitants repeated this traditionary rhyme concerning it :
" John de Daundelyon, with his great dog,
This verse has not been forgotten in the parish, though the bell has been removed ; and amongst others the worthy author of the " Isle of Thanet Guide, 1797," has these lines after describing the interior of the church :
"But on the North John Dandelyon lies,
The absurdity of a bell having been brought from any place upon a mill-cog, or tooth of one wheel acting upon another, has probably prevented any one from bestowing a second thought upon the subject ; but " cog," or "cogge," was an old Teutonic word for a ship, used sometimes in old French, and, if my memory does not fail me, occurs more than once in Barclay's " Shippe of Foles ;" and a parish church in Oxfordshire, that once belonged to the Knights Templars, is still called " cogges," with a ship on the vane ; and in France formerly " mat" was frequently used as an adjective, as in "malmaison."
These two words, therefore, seem to me to mean no more than that John Daundelyon, having procured a bell for the use of the church, brought it into the island on a " mal-cogge," or battered vessel, and a long course of years has altered the words to others, allied only in sound, but more easily comprehended by the relaters.