SELBY, a market town in the Barkston Ash parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 13^ m. S. of York on the Great Northern and North-Eastern railways. Pop. of urban district (1901) 7786. It stands in a level plain on the left bank of the river Ouse, by which communication is provided with the Humber. The church of St Mary and St German belonged to a Benedictine abbey founded under a grant from William the Conqueror in 1069 and raised to the dignity of a mitred abbey by Pope Alexander II. The monastic buildings have practically disappeared, but the church was a splendid building of various dates from Norman to Decorated, the choir and Lady chapel representing the later period. The nave passes from Norman to Early English in the course of its eight bays from east to west and also from the arcade through the triforium to the clerestory. About midnight of the igth-20th of October 1906, a fire broke out in the Latham chapel adjoining the north choir aisle, in which a new organ had recently been erected, and soon involved the whole building. Specially serious damage was done in the immediate neighbourhood of the chapel, the oak-groined roof and rich fittings of the choir were wholly destroyed, but the finely moulded arches and the magnificent tracery of the east window survived in great part. Much damage was done to the tower, and the nave roof perished, for the fire reached practically every part of the building, though the stonework of the nave suffered comparatively little. Schemes for the collection of funds and the complete restoration of the church were immediately set on foot, the architect being Mr Oldrid Scott.
Selby is the centre of a rich agricultural district, and its industries include rope and twine making, flax-scutching, boatbuilding, iron-founding, tanning and brewing. Tradition indicates Selby as the birth-place of Henry I., and thus accounts for the high privileges conferred upon the abbey. The town had a considerable part in the operations of the Civil Wars, being held at the outset by the Parliamentarians, and captured by the Royalists in 1644, but soon retaken by Sir Thomas Fairfax.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)