Llewelyn Davies boys
The Davies boys were the sons of Arthur
Arthur Llewelyn Davies
Arthur Llewelyn Davies was a respected barrister, but is best known as the father of the boys who served as the inspiration for Peter Pan and the other children of J. M. Barrie's stories of Neverland...

 (1863–1907) and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (1866–1910) (daughter of cartoonist/writer George du Maurier
George du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier was a French-born British cartoonist and author, known for his cartoons in Punch and also for his novel Trilby. He was the father of actor Gerald du Maurier and grandfather of the writers Angela du Maurier and Dame Daphne du Maurier...

). They served as the inspiration for the characters of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

 and the other boys of J. M. Barrie
J. M. Barrie
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright...

's Neverland
Neverland is a fictional world featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others...

 works, and several of the main characters were named after them.

Barrie became their guardian following the middle-age deaths of their parents, and they were publicly associated with Barrie and with Peter Pan for the rest of their lives. The three oldest served in the British military in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Two of the brothers died in their early twenties (one in combat, the other drowning), and a third committed suicide when he was 63. Their early lives have been the subject of two cinematic dramatizations.

They were:
  • George (1893–1915)
  • John 'Jack' (1894–1959)
  • Peter (1897–1960)
  • Michael (1900–1921)
  • Nicholas 'Nico' (1903–1980)

(See main articles about each one for individual information.)


The boys were born and grew up in the Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...

 and Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill is an area in London, England, close to the north-western corner of Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

 areas of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Their parents were a barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 and the daughter of a successful cartoonist and writer, and they enjoyed a comfortable middle class upbringing in a household with servants. They were befriended in 1897 by playwright/novelist J. M. Barrie, who first met George and Jack in Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, is one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park. It is shared between the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The park covers an area of 111 hectares .The open spaces...

 during outings with their nurse (nanny
A nanny, childminder or child care provider, is an individual who provides care for one or more children in a family as a service...

) Mary Hodgson and infant Peter. He initially entertained them with his playful antics such as dancing with his dog Porthos, wiggling his ears, and performing feats with his eyebrows, and further endeared himself to them with his stories. He became a regular part of their lives, whom they came to call 'Uncle Jim'.

In addition to the time the boys spent with Barrie in Kensington Gardens and at the Davies home, the family accompanied him to his retreat Black Lake Cottage, where George, Jack, and Peter were the subjects of The Boy Castaways, a photobook made by Barrie about their play adventures living on an island and fighting pirates. The boys and their activities with Barrie provided him with much of the inspiration for the character of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, introduced in The Little White Bird
The Little White Bird
The Little White Bird is a novel by J. M. Barrie, published in 1902, ranging in tone from fantasy and whimsy to social comedy with dark aggressive undertones. The book attained prominence and longevity due to several chapters written in a softer tone than the rest of the book, in which it...

in 1901, and the characters of the Lost Boys and Wendy Darling's brothers
Characters of Peter Pan
The works of J. M. Barrie about Peter Pan feature many memorable characters. The numerous adaptations and sequels to those stories feature many of the same characters, and introduce new ones...

, introduced in Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and further immortalized in its 1911 adaptation as the novel Peter and Wendy.

In 1904, the year when Barrie's play debuted, the Davies family moved out of London and went to live in Egerton House
Egerton House, Berkhamsted
Egerton House was a small Elizabethan mansion which stood on the High Street in the town of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire in England. Built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it was demolished in 1937 and the site is now occupied by the Art Deco Rex Cinema. As well as its architectural merit,...

, an Elizabethan mansion house in Berkhamsted
-Climate:Berkhamsted experiences an oceanic climate similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.-Castle:...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...


After death of parents

Their father died of a salivary sarcoma
A sarcoma is a cancer that arises from transformed cells in one of a number of tissues that develop from embryonic mesoderm. Thus, sarcomas include tumors of bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, vascular, and hematopoietic tissues...

 at Egerton in 1907, and their mother took them back to live in London; she also developed cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and died in 1910. Over the course of their illnesses, Barrie became more involved with the family, including providing financial support for them. With Sylvia's death, Barrie became the boys' trustee and unofficial guardian, along with their maternal grandmother Emma du Maurier, Sylvia's brother Guy du Maurier
Guy du Maurier
Guy Louis Busson du Maurier, D.S.O. was an English army officer and playwright. He was the son of the writer George du Maurier and brother of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and the actor Gerald du Maurier. He was educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst, and became an officer in the Royal Fusiliers in 1885...

, and Arthur's brother Compton Llewelyn Davies. Mary Hodgson continued to care for them, until increasing friction with Barrie and a confrontation with Jack's new wife led to her resignation when the boys were in their teens and twenties. Barrie, whose success as a novelist and playwright had made him wealthy, provided housing, education, and financial support for them until they were independent.

Upon the United Kingdom's entry into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Jack was already in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, and George and Peter volunteered to serve as officers in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. George was killed in action in 1915. Michael drowned with a close friend at Oxford University in 1921. Peter, plagued by his life-long identification as 'the real Peter Pan' and other personal troubles, committed suicide in 1960.

Relationship with Barrie

The boys' relationships with Barrie varied. George and Michael were very close to him, and their deaths affected him strongly. Jack harbored some resentment towards Barrie for taking his father's place during and after Arthur's illness. Peter's relationship with Barrie was ambivalent, but Nico adored him.

Although there has often been suspicion about the nature of Barrie's relationship with the boys, there is no evidence that he engaged in any sexual activity with them, nor that there was any suspicion of such at the time. Their father Arthur was troubled by Barrie's relationship with them, but that was based on its interference with his own relationship with them as their father, and he didn't care for the man personally. As an adult, Nico flatly denied any inappropriate behavior or intentions by Barrie. 'I don't believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call "a stirring in the undergrowth" for anyone — man, woman, or child,' he wrote to biographer Andrew Birkin in 1978. 'He was an innocent — which is why he could write Peter Pan.' In an interview taped in 1976, Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician Robert Boothby
Robert Boothby
Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby, KBE was a controversial British Conservative politician.-Early life:...

, who had been a close friend of Michael during their teens, described Michael's relationship with Barrie at that time as 'morbid' and 'unhealthy', but dismissed the notion that there had been a sexual aspect to it.


The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 produced an award-winning miniseries The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys (docudrama)
The Lost Boys is an award-winning 1978 docudrama mini-series produced by the BBC, written by Andrew Birkin, and directed by Rodney Bennett. It is about the relationship between Peter Pan creator J. M...

in 1978, written by Andrew Birkin, and starring Ian Holm
Ian Holm
Sir Ian Holm, CBE is an English actor known for his stage work and for many film roles. He received the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in The Homecoming and the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of King Lear...

 as Barrie, Ann Bell
Ann Bell
Ann Bell is a British actress, best known for playing war internee Marion Jefferson in the BBC World War II drama series Tenko during the early 1980s. She was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, daughter of John Forrest Bell and Marjorie Bell, and educated at Birkenhead High School...

 as their mother, and Tim Pigott-Smith
Tim Pigott-Smith
Tim Pigott-Smith is an English film and television actor.-Early life:Pigott-Smith was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, the son of Margaret Muriel and Harry Thomas Pigott-Smith, who was a journalist. He was educated at Wyggeston Boys' School, Leicester, King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon, and...

 as their father. It dramatizes with good historical accuracy the relationship between the Davies family and Barrie, from the time they met until shortly after Michael's death. The boys are each portrayed by a series of actors as they age. Birkin also wrote the biography J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys on the same subject.

A semi-fictional movie about their relationship with Barrie, Finding Neverland
Finding Neverland
Finding Neverland is a 2004 semi-biographical film about playwright J. M. Barrie and his relationship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan, directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by David Magee is based on the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee...

, starring Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

 and Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
Kate Elizabeth Winslet is an English actress and occasional singer. She has received multiple awards and nominations. She was the youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Reader...

 as Barrie and their mother, was released to cinemas in November 2004. It covers in a condensed fashion the period from their first meeting until the debut of the play, but omits their father (who was said to have already died) and Nico (who was born during that time and was only an infant at the end of it). The boys are played by Nick Roud
Nick Roud
Nick Roud is a British actor. His most recognised role has been in the film Finding Neverland , in which he played George Llewelyn Davies, oldest of the Llewelyn Davies boys, alongside Kate Winslet , Johnny Depp , and Freddie Highmore...

 (George), Joe Prospero
Joe Prospero
Joe Prospero is a British actor. His most substantial roles have been as 12-year-old Dillon Phillips, in the 2003–2004 BBC sitcom My Dad's the Prime Minister, and as Edward in the 2001 television adaptation of My Uncle Silas.He appeared in the film Finding Neverland , in which he played...

 (Jack), Freddie Highmore
Freddie Highmore
Alfred Thomas "Freddie" Highmore is an English actor. He is best known for his roles in the films Finding Neverland, Five Children and It, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Arthur and the Invisibles, August Rush, The Golden Compass, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Toast.-Early life:Highmore was...

 (Peter), and Luke Spill (Michael).
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