Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon

 By Tim Challies - Posted at

The Philanthropists: Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon

Today I am beginning a series of short biographies of great Christian philanthropists–men and women who used their God-given wealth and privilege to advance his work. We begin with a woman who was the “Queen of Methodism,” an influential leader in the 18th century revival movement, and a great philanthropist.

Selina Hastings was born on August 24, 1707, the daughter of Lord Washington Shirley and Lady Mary Shirley. A child of privilege, she spent her childhood in Leicestershire and her family’s Irish estates. In 1728 she married Theophilus Hastings, the ninth Earl of Huntingdon, and this marriage gave her the title Countess of Huntingdon.

In his biography of George Whitefield, Arnold Dallimore notes “the remarkable Christian witness that [Lady Huntingdon] maintained among Britain’s nobility.” In fact, as one of her own biographers tells us, “Lord and Lady Huntingdon constantly attended wherever [Whitefield] preached.” As a result, she grew to be a devout Christian, passionate about inviting others of British nobility to hear this remarkable preacher and the gospel he preached. Or, as another Whitefield biographer, Luke Tyerman, wrote, “Wherever she went she took her religion with her, for her religion was a part of herself.”


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