Beresford, Marcus Gervais (1801–85), Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh, was born in Dublin 14 February 1801, second son in a family of three sons and five daughters of George de la Poer Beresford (qv), bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh, and his wife Frances, daughter of Gervaise Parker Bushe (qv), MP, of Kilfane. He was educated at Dr Tate's school, Richmond, and at Trinity College, Cambridge (BA 1824, MA 1828, and DD 1840). He was subsequently awarded an honorary DCL by the University of Oxford (1864). He was ordained deacon (1824) and priest (1825) by his father, and in 1825 was appointed vicar of Kildallon in the diocese of Kilmore. In 1828 he resigned Kildallon in favour of Drung and Larah, also in Kilmore, which he held, together with the archdeaconry of Ardagh from 1839, till 1854. He was appointed bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh in 1854 and was consecrated in Armagh cathedral on 24 September. Following the death of his cousin Lord John George de la Poer Beresford (qv), he was translated to Armagh (which had been united with the bishopric of Clogher in 1850) and was enthroned in Armagh cathedral in 1862. By virtue of his office he was a member of the Irish privy council and prelate of the order of St Patrick. He ably led the Church of Ireland through the difficult debates on disestablishment and disendowment in the 1860s and prayer-book reform in the 1870s; and, while favouring a measure of reform with regard to the former, he successfully advocated minimal change in the case of the latter. Although not wealthy, he was noted for his charity and was a man of some culture, founding a library in the see house in Kilmore and forming a collection of Irish antiquities, which are now in the public library, Armagh. A copy of his portrait by Catterson Smith (qv) hangs in the Synod Hall, Armagh. Beresford married (25 October 1824) Mary, daughter of Henry L'Estrange of Moytown, and widow of R. E. Digby of Geashill, King's Co. (Offaly), by whom he had two sons and two daughters; she died in 1845. On 6 June 1850 he married Elizabeth, daughter of J. T. Kennedy of Annadale, Co. Down, and widow of Robert George Bomford of Rahenstown, Co. Meath; she died in 1870. Beresford died in the palace, Armagh, 26 December 1885, and was buried in Armagh cathedral.
DNB; J. B. Leslie, Armagh clergy and parishes (1911); id., ‘Biographical succession list of Kilmore’ (RCB, MS 61/2/11); M. Tallon, Church of Ireland diocesan libraries (1959); H. de la Poer Beresford, The book of the Beresfords (1977); Peter Galloway, The most illustrious order of St Patrick (1983)