J. D. Davies

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J. D. Davies
David davies.jpg
Born J. D. (David) Davies
(1957-04-01) 1 April 1957 (age 60)
Llanelli, Carmarthenshire
Nationality English
Occupation British historian (Naval history)
Known for Author
Website www.jddavies.com

J. D. (David) Davies (born 1 April 1957, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire) is a British historian, specialising primarily in naval history, and the author of both fiction and non-fiction books.

Life and career[edit]

Davies was educated at Llanelli Boys' Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford. After teaching for some years in Newquay, Cornwall, he returned to Oxford to undertake doctoral research on the naval history of the Restoration period. He was awarded the degree of DPhil in 1986. He subsequently taught history and politics at Bedford Modern School, also serving as a Sub-Lieutenant RNR (CCF). Ultimately, he served as Deputy Head (Academic) at BMS from 2000 to 2004. He then gave up full-time teaching in order to develop his writing career.

Published works[edit]

Davies's first book, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins: The Officers and Men of the Restoration Navy (1991) was a revised version of his doctoral thesis .[1] His second book, Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89, was published in 2008, followed in 2010 by his first non-naval book, Blood of Kings: the Stuarts, the Ruthvens and the ‘Gowrie Conspiracy’. His first novel, Gentleman Captain, was published in the UK and Germany in 2009 and in the United States in 2010. Set in the period Davies had been researching for over 25 years, the book centred on the adventures of Captain Matthew Quinton, one of the young "gentlemen captains" promoted by King Charles II despite their almost complete lack of experience of the sea. Gentleman Captain was very well received, being described by Booklist as "a splendid book, with terrific characters, a thrilling adventure, and a wonderful sense of time and place" [2] and by Kirkus Reviews as "a delightful tale" .[3] A sequel, The Mountain of Gold, was published in the UK and Germany in 2011 and the United States in 2012,[4] followed by The Blast That Tears The Skies (UK publication in April 2012), The Lion at Midnight (2013) and The Battle of All the Ages (in 2014). More books in this series will follow in 2016 and later years. Davies has contributed many articles and essays to historical journals and other works, including 67 entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and a chapter in the Oxford History of the Royal Navy. Britannia's Dragon: a Naval History of Wales was published in 2013 by the History Press, and he is working on a history of the Stepney family, baronets of Llanelli.

Awards and positions of responsibility[edit]

Davies won the Julian Corbett essay prize for naval history in 1986, and in 2009 Pepys’s Navy was awarded the Samuel Pepys prize and Latham medal.[5] Davies was elected chairman of the Naval Dockyards Society in 2005, a position that he continues to hold,[6] and served as Vice-President of the Navy Records Society from 2008 to 2012,[7] having previously served several terms on the society’s council. He is also currently a councillor of the Society for Nautical Research[8] and a member of the committee of the Samuel Pepys Club. Davies was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2010 .[9]

Personal life[edit]

Davies lives in Bedfordshire with his partner Wendy Berliner, an award-winning education journalist[10] who served as education correspondent of The Guardian, editor of the Times Educational Supplement, and is now Head of Education for Guardian Business and Professional.[11]


The Matthew Quinton series[edit]

  • Gentleman Captain (2009)
  • The Mountain of Gold (2010)
  • The Blast that Tears the Skies (2011)
  • The Lion at Midnight (2013)
  • The Battle of All the Ages (2014)
  • The Rage of Fortune (a 'prequel' to the series featuring Matthew Quinton's grandfather)
  • Death's Bright Angel (to be published in 2016)


  • Gentlemen and Tarpaulins: The Officers and Men of the Restoration Navy (with Andrew Davies) (1991)
  • Pepys's Navy - Ships, Men and Warfare (2008)
  • Blood of Kings: The Stuarts, the Ruthvens, and the 'Gowrie Conspiracy' (2010)
  • Britannia's Dragon: A Naval History of Wales (2013)
  • Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy (to be published in 2017)


  1. ^ The Officers and Men of the Restoration Navy; J. D. Davies [1]
  2. ^ "Gentleman Captain; Davies, J. D". Booklistonline.com. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  3. ^ "Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt". Hmhbooks.tumblr.com. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  5. ^ "The Bookseller". The Bookseller. 2010-07-20. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  6. ^ "Naval Dockyards Society". Navaldockyards.org. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  7. ^ Navy Records Society Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Who We Are". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  9. ^ "Royal Historical Society". Royal Historical Society. Archived from the original on August 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  10. ^ "Wendy Berliner wins national journalism award". Edexcel.com. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  11. ^ "Wendy Berliner". London: The Guardian. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2012-04-23.