Davy Jones — Who he? And where’s his locker?

Charles Christian
4 min readMay 25, 2022

Just following up on my earlier Wagatha Christie story, I thought it might be handy to explain a little more about Davy Jones…

Davy Jones as depicted in Punch magazine in the 19th century

Let’s start with who Davy Jones is not: We’re not talking about Davy Jones, the much loved and sadly missed actor and singer probably best known for his role in the mid-1960s TV series The Monkees.

Not this Davy Jones — the one with the flag.

And nor are we talking about David Jones, the much loved and sadly missed rock star (and sometime movie actor) who changed his name to David Bowie (to avoid confusion with the guy in The Monkees).

Not this David Jones either.

Instead we are talking about this grim character:

The ‘real’ Davy Jones — sat on his locker.

Although many readers will be familiar with the tentacle-faced depiction of Davy Jones in the present-day Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, the earliest known reference to Davy Jones crops up in a reference in The Four Years Voyages of Captain George Roberts — a novel by Daniel Defoe (the author of Robinson Crusoe) published almost 300 years ago in 1726. The reference takes the form of a threat warning members of the ship’s crew that if they are disobedient, they will be tossed into Davy Jones’ Locker — in other words they’ll be thrown overboard into the sea.

The next account of Davy Jones appears in Tobias Smollett’s 1751 novel The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle where the author writes: ‘This same Davy Jones, according to sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes, perching among the rigging on the eve of hurricanes:, ship-wrecks, and other disasters to which sea-faring life is exposed, warning the devoted wretch of death and woe.’

Depictions of Davy Jones in early novels and illustrations vary from a cadaverous, almost skeletal man wearing the clothes of an 18th century pirate…

Charles Christian

Journalist, editor, author & sometime werewolf hunter. Writes, drinks tea, knows things. (he/him) www.urbanfantasist.com + www.twitter.com/urbanfantasist