His Excellency Robert Wood Johnson, United States Ambassador to the UK, paid an impromptu visit to Selby Abbey during a visit to Yorkshire today and was welcomed by Churchwarden Stewart Skilbeck, Curate the Revd Neil Woodhall, Chairman of Selby Abbey Trust John Englehart and Abbey Administrator Jennifer Cooke.

The Ambassador was particularly interested to see the Washington Window in the Abbey, an original 14th century stained glass window which shows the Washington family coat of arms, depicting the stars and stripes – believed to be the origin of the American national flag.

  • Pictured from left: the Revd Neil Woodhall, Stewart Skilbeck, John Engelhart, His Excellency Robert Wood Johnson, Jennifer Cooke.

The window is thought to be one of the earliest known surviving representations of the Washington family coat of arms.

Ambassador Johnson expressed his amazement that the 950-year-old Abbey continues to be a vibrant place of worship and pilgrimage at the heart of the Selby community.