Selby Abbey

Selby , England , United Kingdom

About Selby Abbey

Selby Abbey is a beautiful Norman church in the heart of Yorkshire, England, with a history dating back to 1069AD.

The original Selby Abbey was constructed towards the end of the 11th century after a monk, known as Benedict of Auxerre, had a vision whereupon he was called by St. Germain to build a new monastery at ‘Selebiae’.

Over the next 500 years approximately 35 abbots led Selby Abbey, with constant additions being added to the structure. Over time, the abbey became one of the most renowned churches in England, with regular visits from kings and nobility, who often bestowed ornate gifts upon it.

Unfortunately, as with so many other abbeys, following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries Selby Abbey found itself on the wrong side of history. Though the church building itself survived, Selby became a shadow of its former self and was left to slowly decay – with large parts of the structure, including the central tower, falling to ruin.

However, the history and legacy of this great building led many to campaign for its restoration, and in the middle of the 19th century the church was repaired and reconstructed. Despite further fire damage in 1906, Selby Abbey was once again sympathetically restored leaving the building we now know, which still clings to its historic Norman roots.

Today, visitors can tour Selby Abbey when it is not in use for services and can explore the rich narrative of this historic church. In addition, the abbey is often used to host concerts and other performances from a host of renowned acts.

It is worth noting that Selby Abbey is stillI an active place of worship and often has weddings and christenings taking place there. Currently a restoration programme is also underway.

Contributed by Victoria Haughton

Related Places

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral is a vast, mainly 12th Century, Romanesque cathedral built to house the relics of St Cuthbert.


Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey was once a thriving monastery until Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. Its ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.


York Minster

York Minster is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in northern Europe, built by the Normans and expanded over the centuries.


Pontefract Castle

Originally a Norman structure, Pontefract castle played an increasingly important role in English Royal history for over 500 years. Today it lies in ruins but has much for visitors to enjoy, including its underground dungeons.


Comments (0)