Charles Marston

Sir Charles Marston, FSA, KStJ (6 April 1867 – 21 May 1946) was a successful businessman who funded several major archaeological excavations across Palestine between 1929–1938.


Born in Wolverhampton, Charles was the son of John Marston the founder of Sunbeam.[1][2] He entered into the family business in 1885 and through its success managed to fund his various interests, many archaeological based. From 1942 to his death Charles was President of the Victoria Institute.


Charles was deeply interested in archaeology and became President of the "Shropshire Archaeological Society", financially supporting its excavations across Palestine from 1929. Charles financially supported John Garstang's excavations at Jericho, followed by further excavations during the 1930s, by which time he was a leading financial supporter of the Palestine Exploration Fund.[3][4] He also authored two popular works on Biblical archaeology, The Bible is True (1934) followed by The Bible is Alive (1937).

Although not a professional archaeologist himself, Marston was a member of various academic societies, including the Society of Antiquaries of London where he self-taught himself archaeology and ancient history. He also participated in some of John Garstang's digs at Jericho, alongside financially supporting the excavations.

Religious views

Neither a fundamentalist nor liberal Christian, Marston saw himself as somewhere in the middle, having strong faith but more interested in the historical accuracy of the Old Testament, he was an early notable critic of Higher Criticism:

Why, we haven't scratched the surface of Biblical knowledge yet. We don't know one-tenth of the truth, historically speaking. And the sporting thing to do is for all of us to wait, to reserve judgment, until that knowledge comes into our possession. That goes for Fundamentalists and Modernists alike. The die-hard Fundamentalist is quite wrong, I think, in insisting upon a word-for-word and letter-for-letter correctness of the King James version. And the Modernist—the extremist at the other end—he's just as wrong in leaping to snap judgments and wild conclusions on mere textual criticism.[5]

Charles was also a proponent of British Israelism. Speaking at a meeting of lay churchmen at the Caxton Hall, Westminster, on Saturday, 2 February 1929, he declared:

Great Britain was the first of all nations to adopt Christianity. Bible study and the results of the Great War are forcing me to the certain conclusion that today, we, as a nation, represent the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel...[6]

Marston was a creationist, he succeeded John Ambrose Fleming as president of the Evolution Protest Movement.[7]


  1. Marston Family Archived 18 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Biography Archived 19 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. The Palestine Exploration Fund
  4. The archaeology of Palestine, William Foxwell Albright, 1949, Taylor & Francis, p.9
  5. Time Magazine
  6. British-Israel Identity Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. McIver, Thomas Allen. (1989). Creationism: Intellectual Origins, Cultural Context, and Theoretical Diversity. University of California, Los Angeles.
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