Abbey Life

The Abbey is a living, breathing organic community of people from paid staff to volunteers; the casual visitor to the student of architecture; from the devout Christian to the non-believer! This section of the website is dedicated to all those who use this Abbey in any way at all. Where you see an audio mp3 symbol, click on it to listen to the short interviews from the visitors and those who work in the Abbey.

A Visitor’s Perspective of Selby Abbey

Colin Mapes from Clun, Shropshire

“I looked in a book of the best churches in England and I found this church had 5 stars… I must say, it’s exceeded our expectations”

Pamela Franks from Leeds, Yorkshire

“I think the Abbey is very beautiful. What impressed me first was the kindness of the gentleman who met us at the door… My favourite part was walking down to the main altar, it was absolutely beautiful – I loved it”

Reflections of Those Who Work at Selby Abbey

Hazel Horsman – Gift Shop Manager

“Every day is different… It’s a challenge staffing the shop. I love being in the Abbey, showing the carved animals to the children. It’s the people that mean things to me.”

Nannette Wooler – Cleaner since 1974

“I always look forward to coming for company. I enjoy doing my cleaning very much. I like what they’ve started to do with the service… I look f orward to coming to church… I love being in this place – I’m happy being in here.”

Interviewing Our Visitors

Adam Rice, York (Aged 19)
We travelled down from York this morning by bike to visit Selby Abbey. We appreciated the warm welcome we received when we arrived and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this beautiful place. It was well worth the 30 mile round bike ride from York!

Elaine, Leeds (Aged 62)
Five of us came from Leeds to visit the Abbey. We didn’t quite know what to expect and I can say we were pleasantly surprised. This is a beautiful, peaceful place. We took our time to look at the detail in the Abbey, but I suspect we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Betty Pearson, Leeds (Aged 91)
We were here in 1980 and we paid to go up the tower. I remember as if it were yesterday. We got up those steps, me and me husband. The view from the tower was amazing. I’m 92 years next month and this Abbey still captivates and inspires me as much today as it did when I were a girl.

John Davies, Ruthin, North Wales
On entering the Abbey I became immediately aware of a sense of peace and stillness. I was also pleased to see that there was no admission charge, but simply a request to make a donation which I readily did. I was able to walk around the Abbey in my own time and at my own pace. Everything about it was impressive. It is a building that calls people to prayer. As I walked around the Abbey, I stopped at various points feeling moved to pray, particularly at the location where votive candles were in front of a crucifix. Each of the chapels in the Abbey with their impressive stained glass windows also moved me to pray. The chapel with the “resurrection window” for me had a special atmosphere and I spent some time in there in prayer and quiet reflection.

I thought the people who were welcoming got it just right. They were there for visitors and able to answer any question the visitor may ask, but they very much respected the need of the visitor to be still and quiet in various parts of the Abbey. Also I appreciated that I was allowed to take photographs in the Abbey after asking permission.