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By Mary Ray
S ilently, she followed the
solemn funeral proces-
sion to the gravesite.

Hiding behind the tall
shrubby, she watched as careful hands
placed the body of the nine-year-old
girl into the cold earth. Selina thought,
“She is the same age as I am.” The
scene was embedded into the young
girl’s serious mind, and she often went
back to the quiet churchyard to gaze at
the small grave.

Selina Shirley was born on August
24, 1707, at Staunton Harold in Ash-
by-de-Zouch, Leicestershire, England.

Staunton Harold is a stately Georgian
mansion surrounded by 150 acres of
peaceful woodland. As I stood on the
small stone bridge in front of Staunton
Harold and looked back at the impos-
ing mansion, the beauty of it all over-
whelmed me.

Selina’s grandfather and father
had impressive titles. She could trace