F. S. Marsh

Fred Shipley Marsh (18861953) was an English clergyman and theologian, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge from 1935 to 1951.

The son of James William Marsh, by his marriage to Elizabeth Shipley, he was the eldest son in a family of eight children. Educated at Cambridge, in 1907 Marsh was elected a Tyrwhitt Scholar, and much of his subsequent work was in the field of Syriac studies.[1]

From 1916 to 1919, during the First World War, Marsh served as a chaplain in the armed forces and was gassed, causing harm which continued to trouble him for the rest of his life.[2]

A Fellow of Selwyn College from 1920,[3] Marsh was also a Lecturer from 1920 to 1935, College Dean 1920 to 1924, and College Librarian 1920 to 1929.[4] In 1927 he published The Book of Hierotheos, a translation and critical edition of a set of Syriac manuscripts dating from the 6th century which had been discovered in the 19th century.[2] In 1935 he was appointed to succeed James Bethune-Baker as Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity and moved away from the Syriac field.[1] Founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1502 as a readership, it is the oldest chair at Cambridge, traditionally held by a New Testament scholar.

Under the initials F. S. M., Marsh was also a contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica.[5]

He retired from his chair in Divinity in 1951, and his successor, C. F. D. Moule, was appointed with effect from 1 October 1951.[6]


  1. 1 2 J. F. Coakley, "The teaching of Syriac at Cambridge", in Eugene E. Lemcio, ed., A Man of Many Parts: Essays in Honor of John Westerdale (2015), p. 24
  2. 1 2 Graham Stanton, introduction to Patrick Collinson, Richard Rex, Graham Stanton, eds., Lady Margaret Beaufort and Her Professors of Divinity at Cambridge: 1502 to 1649, p. 16
  3. The Cambridge University Calendar for the Year 1950-51, p. 27
  4. Europa - the European Who's Who, vol. 2, part 1, 550
  5. Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 1 (1952), p. xxxv: "F. S. M. — Fred Shipley Marsh. Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University."
  6. The Journal of Education, vol. 83 (1952), p. 270
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