Selby, Walford Dakin (DNB00)

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SELBY, WALFORD DAKIN (1845–1889), antiquary, born on 16 June 1845, was the eldest son of Thomas Selby of Witley and Wimbush Hall, Essex, by his wife Elizabeth, youngest daughter and coheiress of Ralph Foster of Holderness, Yorkshire. His great-great-grandfather had taken the name Selby by royal license in 1783, but the family name was originally Browne, and they claimed descent from the Brownes, viscounts Montagu. Selby once preferred a claim to that dormant peerage, but abandoned it owing to his inability to prove beyond dispute a marriage on which the claim rested. He was educated at Brighton College, and then at Tunbridge School; on leaving the latter he was placed with Dr. Stromberg at Bonn to learn German and French. In 1867 he became a junior clerk in the Record Office, where he ultimately became superintendent of the search-room. In 1883, in conjunction with his friend, Mr. James Greenstreet, he founded the Pipe Roll Society, of which he was director-in-chief, and honorary treasurer till his death, which took place at his residence, 9 Clyde Street, Redcliffe Gardens, S.W., on 3 Aug. 1889. He was buried on the 8th in Kensal Green cemetery.

Selby's career at the Record office was distinguished by unfailing courtesy and minute knowledge of the records under his charge. From 1884 to April 1889 he edited the ‘Genealogist,’ and he was a frequent contributor on literary subjects to the ‘Athenæum,’ ‘Academy,’ ‘Antiquary,’ ‘Antiquarian Magazine,’ and other periodicals. His papers on ‘The Robbery of Chaucer at Hatcham,’ and ‘Chaucer as Forrester of North Petherton, in the County of Somerset,’ were published as Nos. 1 and 3 in the ‘Life-Records of Chaucer,’ which Selby edited for the Chaucer Society, 1875 et seqq. He also compiled ‘The Jubilee Date Book,’ 1887, and edited

  1. ‘Bond's Book of Dates,’ 1875.
  2. ‘Lancashire and Cheshire Records,’ 2 pts. 1882–3.
  3. ‘Norfolk Records,’ 1886.

At the time of his death he was preparing a new edition of ‘The Red Book of the Exchequer,’ which was soon completed by Mr. Hubert Hall, an edition of Queen Elizabeth's manuscript translation of ‘Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiæ,’ and a new index to the ‘Inquisitiones post mortem.’

[Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; The Genealogist, vol. vi. Introd. and pp. 65–7; Athenæum, 1889, vol. ii.; Acad. 1889, ii. 103.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.244
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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211 ii 8f.e. Selby, Walford D.: for 1865 read 1867