Marten, Mary Anna (1929 -2010)

Mary Anna Sibell Elizabeth Sturt was born at Moor Critchel in Dorset, the daughter of Napier Sturt, 3rdBaron Alington, and Lady Mary Sibell Ashley-Cooper, daughter of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9thEarl of Shaftesbury, and Lady Constance Sibell Grosvenor, sister to Hugh Grosvenor, 2ndDuke of Westminster.  She attended school at Lancaster Gate and later at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.  On the death of her father in active service in the RAF in 1940, Mary Anna inherited the Crichel House Estate in Dorset.  Part of the estate had been requisitioned by the government in 1938, on the understanding that when the land was no longer required it would be returned to the original owners. When this failed to happen, Mary Anna, took on the government in a famous case known as the Crichel Down affair, eventually winning back her land.   Mary Anna was a distinguished archaeologist, with a particular interest in Iran.  In 1988 she founded The Ancient Persia Fund at the British Academy in honour of the distinguished Russian scholar Vladimir G Lukonin. In 1985 she was appointed a trustee of the British Museum, and was twice reappointed. Among her other honours was her award of an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).  She was a collector of Chinese works of art, particularly jade, and a collector of rare books. In 1949 she married Lieutenant-Commander. George (Toby) Gosselin Marten, and had one son and five daughters. 
Seat / Residence(s): Crichel House