From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Selby Abbey

North Yorkshire
53° 47′ 4″ N, 1° 4′ 5″ W

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Selby Abbey is an Anglican Parish Church located in the town of Selby, North Yorkshire.

The church started life as an abbey, founded by Benedict of Auxerre in 1069, it was built by the wealthy de Lacy family.

Life at the abbey did not always follow the Benedictine way of life, in 1275 several monks and the abbot were charged with loose living and misconduct with married women. In 1279, visiting Archbishop William de Wickwane noted that the abbot was not singing mass, preaching, teaching or attended chapter. Archbishop William Greenfield visited in 1306 and noted similar findings.

A fire in 1340, destroyed the Chapter House, Dormitory, Treasury and part of the church. This was repaired and stain glass windows were installed in the south aisle of the church.

The abbey was dissolved in December 1539 and fell into ruin. Most of the buildings were stone mined but the church was left abandoned. In 1618 it became the parish church of Selby. During the civil War, the north transept window was destroyed along with the statues in the Choir.

The church began to suffer with subsidence as it is built on a base of sand. The central tower collapsed in 1690 destroying the south transept. The tower was rebuilt, but the transept was not.

The church was restored in the early 1870's by Sir George Gilbert Scott and in 1890 by John Oldrid Scott. He later supervised the rebuilt of the church in 1909 after a fire broke out in the newly installed gas powered organ.

The abbey church is undergoing an extensive restoration program which began in 2002.