Like many 19th century gentlemen of wealth and status, Archbishop Marcus Gervais Beresford (1862-1885) collected prehistoric and historic artefacts and created a ‘cabinet of curios’. Collections were often supplemented by mementoes of the gentlemen’s travels, usually in Europe, as part of their educational ‘Grand Tour’.
In 1886 Archbishop Beresford’s widow donated his collection to the Library. The display cabinet was made especially to house this collection. A selection of items from the Beresford Collection can also be seen on display at No 5 Vicars’ Hill, the former Registry.