Davy Jones' locker
Davy Jones' locker : Phrases
The bottom of the sea; the resting place of drowned mariners.
Davy Jones is the evil spirit of the sea. There are various possible attempts to explain the name by associating it with someone of a similar name:
Jones may be a corruption of name of the biblical seaman Jonah. Jonah denoted bad luck on to seamen.
Davy Jones was a 16th century publican who imprisoned drunken sailors in a locker and press-ganged them to serve on ships.
The name comes from the patron saint of sailors - St. David.
None of these is supported by any evidence - they are little more than guesses.
The first source of the use of the name comes from Tobias Smollett's
The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle 1751:
Lord! Jack, you may say what you wool; but I'll be damned if it was
not Davy Jones himself. I know him by his saucer eyes, his three
rows of teeth, his horns and tail, and the blue smoke that came out
of his nostrils. What does the blackguard hell's baby want with
me? I'm sure I never committed murder, except in the way of my
profession, nor wronged any man whatsomever since I first went to
sea.' This same Davy Jones, according to the mythology of 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, shipwrecks, and other disasters, to which
a seafaring life is exposed; warning the devoted wretch of death
The first source that mentions Jones' locker is the 1803 Naval Chronicle:
From Davy to HOME PAGE
"...seamen would have met a watery grave; or, to use a seaman's phrase, gone to Davy Jones's locker."