An historic hidden gem

The area around Howden has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeological evidence suggests that there were settlements in the area during the Roman period, although the town itself did not exist at that time. Howden was established as a settlement in the 12th century with it’s name derived from the Old Norse words “hugr” and “denn,” meaning a place of refuge or shelter. Howden was strategically located on the edge of the marshy lands of the River Ouse, which provided protection and access to transportation routes making it an important place at that time.

Howden grew in importance as a market town. In the 13th century, it was granted a royal charter to hold weekly markets and an annual fair, which attracted traders and merchants from the surrounding areas. The market square, which is still present today, became the centre of economic and social activity – a weekly market is still held in the Shire Hall every Friday.

Howden’s strategic location on the River Ouse and its proximity to major routes, now the A614 and A63, contributed to its growth and importance as a transportation hub. The river allowed for the transport of goods and facilitated trade, while the roads provided connections to other towns and cities in the region. The Industrial Revolution brought changes to Howden as new industries emerged. Although it remained primarily an agricultural town, the development of transportation infrastructure, including the railway in the mid-19th century, connected Howden to wider markets and facilitated the movement of goods and people.

The most prominent landmark in Howden is Howden Minster, officially known as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The construction of the church began in the 12th century and continued over several centuries. It is an impressive example of medieval architecture and has a rich history, including connections to prominent figures such as King Edward I and the Archbishop of York.

Today, Howden is known for its historic charm, with well-preserved Georgian and Victorian buildings, including Howden Hall, which dates back to the 17th century. The town’s heritage, combined with its picturesque location and local independent businesses, makes it a popular destination for visitors and a desirable place to live.