The son of a Wiltshire lawyer, Sir John Davies attended Queen's College Oxford (B.A. 1590), the University of Leiden (1592), and Padua (1597). He studied at the Middle Temple (1588-94) before being called to the bar in 1595. In 1597-98 Davies was disbarred for assaulting a fellow Templar. He was reinstated in 1601 and was later Attorney-General for Ireland (1606-19) and Speaker of the Irish Commons (1613). Davies returned to England in 1619 but died before he could take up his position as Lord Chief Justice. He co-founded the Society of Antiquaries with Sir Robert Cotton.
Orchestra: a poeme of dauncing. 1596.
Epigrammes and elegies by J. D. and C. M[arlow]. 1598.
Hymns of Astraea in acrosticke verse. 1599.
Nosce teipsum in two elegies: of humane knowledge, of the soule of man. 1599.
A discovery of the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued. 1612.
Le primer report des cases resolves. 1615.
A perfect abridgement of the eleven books of reports [Sir Edward Coke, ed. Sir John Davies]. 1655.
The question concerning impositions, tonnage, poundage, prizage, customs, etc. 1656.
Historical tracts, ed. George Chalmers. 1786.
Works, ed. A. B. Grosart. 3 vols, 1869-76.
Poems, ed. Clare Howard. 1941.
Poems of Sir John Davies, ed. Robert Krueger. 1975.