Our Speaker, David Davies, who writes as J D Davies, is a vice-president of the Society for Nautical Research and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His book Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy won the Anderson Prize, and a certificate of merit for the Mountbatten prize, both awards being made for the best maritime history book of 2017. Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89 won the Samuel Pepys prize for 2009. David is also the author of ‘The journals of Matthew Quinton’, a bestselling series of naval historical fiction set in the seventeenth century, and of a new trilogy set in the Tudor age, the first title being Destiny’s Tide.

Samuel Pepys is best known today for his diary and its revelations about his astonishingly tangled love life, but Pepys was actually a much more complex and important individual. Dr Davies talked to the club about his life and role, as well as examining the history and importance of the Royal Navy in this period.

In many ways, the foundations of Nelson’s navy were laid in the thirty years after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, with changes in ship design and tactics, reforms to the system of appointing officers, and the growth of a permanent, professional navy. The period saw some of the greatest sea battles in the entire age of sail, as well as one of Britain’s greatest ever defeats, when the Dutch sailed into the Medway and towed away the fleet flagship.

14th November 2019