Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Letters and Images



Image of Selina Hastings,
Countess of Huntingdon

This image of the Countess of Huntingdon (1707–1791) was engraved by John Chester Buttre (1821–1893) and printed in New York.

Click on the image, left, to view in the digital collection.


Letter from Lady Huntingdon
to Anne Grinfield,
January 8, 1757

Even though she could have served the Methodist movement as a lay preacher, Lady Huntingdon chose to express her faith in more subtle ways. As a member of the aristocracy, she used her organizational skills, personal connections, and financial resources to support many preaching and benevolent ministries. Anne Grinfield (1709–1791), the recipient of this letter, was Lady of the Bedchamber to King George II's two daughters, Princesses Amelia and Caroline. Through correspondence Lady Huntingdon encouraged Grinfield to bear a Methodist witness at Court.

Click on the image, right, to view in the digital collection.




Letter from Lady Huntingdon
to Judith Townsend Wordsworth,
June 4, 1765

This document is a double letter. The first letter is an epistle from Lady Huntingdon to social reformer the Rev. Joseph Townsend (1739–1816). The second letter was addressed to Rev. Townsend’s sister, Judith Townsend Wordsworth (1738–1786). In this note the Countess urges her friend to take advantage of every opportunity to spread the Gospel.

My d[ea]r Mrs Wadsworth [Wordsworth] Your letter made my heart quite overflow with love to you that riches for that d[ea]r Lamb of God’s services shews us what sorts ought ever to be willing, watchfull always ready for any thing, for every thing to which that sweet voice would lead us, we then have nothing to do with consequences they are no longer ours but his.

In 1771 Judith Townsend Wordsworth married Rev. Thomas Haweis, one of Lady Huntingdon’s most trusted ministers.

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Letter from Lady Huntingdon
to Thomas Haweis,
April 8, 1790

The Countess of Huntingdon first encountered Methodism and met both John Wesley and Charles Wesley around 1740. In this 1790 letter to the Rev. Thomas Haweis (1734–1820), she recalls the zeal of those early years and shares her optimism that spiritual revival will continue.

One Miss Williams from Bath has quite enlivened me. She speaks with Rapture of tears of your explaining the 8th of the Romans & the 11th of the Hebrews, she puts me in mind of our early days, now fifty Years ago as that fine fire that has Continued burning, but I own hers makes me hope some faith fire is Coming to the Church from the heavenly Alter [sic] upon us.

Thomas Haweis was closely associated with Lady Huntingdon beginning in the 1760s. A separate digital collection of materials relating to Rev. Haweis can be accessed at
https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/haws

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Letter from Lady Huntingdon
to Thomas Haweis,
September 2, 1790

Lady Huntingdon’s spiritual ambitions were far-reaching. In 1768 she founded a college for the training of preachers near Trafeca, Wales. This letter written during the final year of her life expresses the Countess’s vision for global missionary outreach.

It is now the time of the travelling fund, the very & vast importance of the work for the South Seas, New Brunswick, America & perhaps Virginia with the vast spread of the gospel among the very poor in various places of such consequence.

Click on the image, left, to view in the digital collection.