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Selby Abbey

In the civil parish of Selby.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE615323
Latitude 53.78413° Longitude -1.06704°

Selby Abbey has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are no visible remains.


Benedictine Abbey founded circa 1070 and dissolved in 1539, when all buildings other than the church were demolished. Situated on the site of an earlier hermitage or chapel built by Benedict of Auxerre, who came to England with a relic of St Germanus to build an abbey here. He was living in a hut here in 1069. The abbey church was made parochial in 1619. The west part of the nave and the lower part of the west front appear to be late 12th century. The north nave gallery and the upper parts of the west front appear to be mid-13th century. The chancel and some of the tracery elsewhere are of later 14th century date. The tower collapsed in 1690, and was repaired circa 1701-2. The church was restored in 1871-3 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and again in 1889-90 by J Oldrid Scott. In 1906 a serious fire prompted the most drastic restoration of all, also by J Oldrid Scott, which included a new crossing tower (1908), south transept (circa 1912), and west towers (1935). (PastScape)

An unclassified moat appears to have surrounded Selby Abbey as described in a valuation of abbey timber in 1543. (PastScape ref. La Patourel, 1973)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1375 Nov 10 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


Obtained a licence to crenellate in 1375. The abbey gateway was removed in 1792. The location of Selby on the navigable Ouse might make it more susceptible to ship borne raiders than some other religious houses. However there is nothing to suggest that the Abbey''s defences where are more than that of other religious house or the threat to it anything more than that to any other great landowner and rent collector. The Gatehouse, as drawn in 1778, was not in anyway defensive and was not crenellated.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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