Selby is a town situated 12 miles south of the city of York, on the banks of the River Ouse.
Much of the historical wealth of the town is based upon its position on the Ouse. In the past, Selby had a large shipbuilding industry and was an important port, due to the Selby Canal which brought trade from Leeds.
The town is dominated by Selby Abbey which was completed in the 13th century. It is one of the largest parish churches in the UK and is larger than several cathedrals. A notable feature of the Abbey is the 14th century Washington Window, featuring the heraldic coat of arms of John de Washington, a 15th century Prior of the Abbey and a direct ancestor of George Washington. The design featuring three red stars above two red bands on a white shield is said to have been the model for the US flag.
Selby Abbey was and has suffered more than most down the centuries. It was severely damaged by Cromwell's troops during the Civil War and in 1690 the central tower collapsed. Major restoration work was carried out during the 19th century, but in 1906 a disastrous fire swept through the Abbey. Despite all this, the building is still a beautiful edifice.OS grid reference SE 615 325
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