SELBY, a market town of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, is situated on the navigable river Ouse and on the main line of the Great Northern Railway, 15 miles south of York and 20 east of Leeds. Of the ancient abbey for Benedictines, founded by William the Conqueror in 1069 and raised to the dignity of a mitred abbey by Pope Alexander II., there still remains the church of St Mary and St German, although it has been much changed by alterations and additions, the more ancient and notable features being the nave, transept, and west front. The church was made parochial in 1618. In the market-place there is a modern Gothic market cross. Among the public buildings are the drill hall and the mechanics' institute and public rooms. Flax-scutching, seed-crushing, brick and tile making, boat-building, tanning, and brewing are the principal industries. There is a large trade in potatoes, flax, and mustard, and a considerable cattle-market. The town receives its water-supply from artesian wells. A local board of health was established in 1851, consisting of nine members. The population of the urban sanitary district (6193 in 1871), extended in 1881 from 514 to 3760 acres, was in that year 6057.
Henry I. of England was born in the abbey, a fact which probably accounts for the special privileges conferred on it. In the early part of the Civil IN ar it was held' by the Parliament, and after being taken by the Royalists was recaptured by Fairfax.