KING Henry I will be celebrated on St George’s Day for being a famous old Selebian.

Selby Civic Society is putting up a blue plaque to commemorate the birthplace of the fourth son of William the Conqueror as part of its work to stimulate public interest in the history and character of the town.

David Lewis, committee member of the Selby Civic Society, said the town had previously marked the birthplaces of Selebian scientists Smithson Tennant and Jonathan Hutchinson, as well as marking Yorkshire’s first railway station, the site of the Tithe Barn and the cholera burial ground.

Historic records indicate that Henry I was born in an old wooden church by the river at Church Hill in Selby while his father was confiscating and destroying castles around England in 1067.

Although Henry VIII is notorious for his many wives, it is Henry I who is believed to have been the most prolific. He had four legitimate children and 23 illegitimate ones.

He is also known to have committed some barbaric acts, such as blinding his own granddaughters to punish their father.

However, said David, he was a paragon of virtue compared with his contemporaries.

He said: “He kept England at peace for most of the 35 years he was in power, which is no mean achievement in late Norman Europe.”

Henry I is also credited with inventing the tally system of counting money, which led to the early establishment of the Exchequer, and creating the first zoo.

Charles Forbes-Adam, the High Steward of Selby Abbey, will unveil the plaque, which is to be put up on the railings at Selby Abbey on Friday at noon.

Selby Civic Society will be giving further information on the monarch on Thursday at 7.30pm at the Methodist Chapel, with three films about Bygone Selby.