Marcus Beresford (bishop)

The Most Reverend
Marcus Beresford
Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland
See Armagh
Installed 1862
Term ended 1885
Predecessor Lord John Beresford
Successor Robert Knox
Other posts Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
Personal details
Born (1801-02-14)14 February 1801
Died 26 February 1885(1885-02-26) (aged 84)
Nationality Irish
Denomination Church of Ireland
Education Richmond School
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Marcus Gervais Beresford DD DCL PC (14 February 1801 – 26 December 1885) was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh from 1854 to 1862 and Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1862 until his death.

Early life

Beresford was born in 1801 at the Custom House, Dublin, then the town house of his grandfather, John Beresford, a unionist Member of Parliament, and was a great-grandson of Marcus Beresford, 1st Earl of Tyrone. He was the second son of George Beresford, Bishop of Kilmore and later of Kilmore and Ardagh, and of his wife Frances, a daughter of Gervase Parker Bushe and a niece of Henry Grattan.[1][2] Beresford belonged to a family "connected for generations with the highest dignity and power in the civil and ecclesiastical administration of Ireland"[3]

Educated at Richmond School under Dr Tate and at Trinity College, Cambridge, he graduated BA in 1824, MA in 1828 and DD in 1840. He was later awarded the degree of Doctor of Civil Laws by Oxford in 1864.[1]


In 1824, Beresford was ordained deacon and in 1825 priest, and was quickly appointed Rector of Kildallon, County Cavan, a parish in his father's diocese of Kilmore. Three years later, he was preferred to the vicarages of Drung and Larah in the same diocese, benefices which he held until 1839 when he became archdeacon of Ardagh when Ardagh was united with Kilmore. His father was succeeded by Bishop Leslie, but on Leslie's death in 1854 Beresford followed in his father's footsteps as bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh and was consecrated in Armagh Cathedral on 24 September 1854.[1]

In 1862, following the death of his cousin Lord John George Beresford, Beresford was translated to succeed him as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, holding also the see of Clogher. As Archbishop, Beresford was appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland and also sometimes acted as a lord justice for the government of Ireland in the absence of the Viceroy.[1]

In the Church, Beresford gained the reputation of being a statesmanlike presence during the storms which were caused by William Ewart Gladstone's measures to bring about disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, playing a large part in the negotiations this called for, and then afterwards had the hard task of reconstituting the church.[1]

Beresford died at Armagh on 26 December 1885 and was entombed there in St Patrick's Cathedral.[1]

Wives and children

On 25 October 1824 Beresford married Mary, a daughter of Henry L'Estrange of Moystown and the widow of R. E. Digby of Geashill. They had two sons and three daughters: Charlotte Henrietta Beresford (died 1884), Mary Emily Beresford (died 1858), George De la Poer Beresford (1831–1906) and Major Henry Marcus Beresford (1835–1895).[1][2]

Beresford's first wife died in 1845, and on 6 June 1850 he married secondly Elizabeth, daughter of James Trail-Kennedy of Annadale, County Down and the widow of Robert George Bonford of Rahenstown, County Meath.[1][2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Falkiner, C. L., Beresford, Marcus Gervais (1801–1885), Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh, rev. Kenneth Milne, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004). doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2198 (subscription required for online access), retrieved 21 December 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 Most Rev. Marcus Gervais Beresford at
  3. The Times, 28 December 1885


 Falkiner, Cæsar Litton (1901). "Beresford, Marcus Gervais". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by
John Powell Leslie
Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
Succeeded by
Hamilton Verschoyle
Preceded by
Lord John Beresford
Archbishop of Armagh
Succeeded by
Robert Knox
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