The leading navigator and explorer John Davis was born at Sandridge Barton in 1543 and it remained his home throughout his life.
He led three expeditions to discover the North West Passage in the 1580’s, and the Davis Straits between Labrador and Greenland are named after him. He paved the way for later explorers, including Henry Hudson who sailed with Davis, and William Baffin. He discovered the Falkland Islands on a voyage returning from the Straits of Magellan in 1592 and an image of his ship, the Desire, is commemorated on the Falkland Islands coat of arms and flag. Amongst his many other adventures, he commanded a ship in the defence of England against the Spanish Armada as pilot to the Commander of The Fleet, Lord Howard of Effingham. He served as pilot for the East India Company’s first fleet to South East Asia, and navigated three further expeditions to the East Indies. Arising from one of those expeditions, Davis was fined for failing to pay duty on spices landed at Sandridge Quay in 1594.
John Davis was the foremost navigator of his time, writing the then definitive treatise on Navigation and inventing the Davis quadrant and backstaff that was used for nearly 200 years after his death. He also developed the model for ship’s log books as well as leaving many maps and records from his eight major voyages.
Despite these considerable achievements John Davis is much less well known than other Elizabethan sea dogs from Devon. Davis grew up with the three famous Gilbert brothers, and was lifelong friends with their younger half-brother Walter Raleigh. The Gilberts lived at Greenway, later the home of Agatha Christie, located less than a mile downstream from Sandridge Barton
This was a centre of Elizabethan explorers - a dangerous career when a quarter of seaman did not return from voyages. Indeed John Davis was killed in the Straits of Malacca after an altercation with Japanese Pirates in 1605.
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Sandridge Barton Wines Ltd is a company registered in England & Wales No 11938282. Registered office: Sandridge Barton, Waddeton Road, Stoke Gabriel, Devon, United Kingdom, TQ9 6RL. Sharpham cheeses are hand-produced by Sharpham Partnership Limited
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