"HOWDEN, A respectable and ancient market town and township, in the parish of its name, in the wapentake of Howdenshire, East Riding, is 175 miles from London, 30 e. from Leeds, 21 s.s.e. from York, 12 s.s.w. from Market Weighton, and 10 e. by s. from Selby. The town is situated about a mile from the north side of the river Ouse, and surrounded by a level country in a high state of agriculture, and exceedingly productive.The bishops of Durham had here a palace, the remains of which are still to be contemplated ; and about four miles distant is Wressell castle, the ancient residence of the dukes of Northumberland. A court is held here for the recovery of small debts ; and courts leet, baron and halmot occasionally. Howden is one of the stations named in the New Boundary Act, for taking votes at the election of members to represent the East Riding of the county. This is not a manufacturing town or one of any peculiar trade ; what it enjoys is of a local character, the prosperity of which is dependent upon its own inhabitants, assisted by the farmers and others attending the markets. There are two good news rooms, one at Mr. John Sugden's, post-office ; the other at Mr. William C. Turlays', Bridge gate.
The church, dedicated to St. Peter, and formerly collegiate, is a noble and spacious cruciform structure, with a lofty square embattled tower rising from the intersection. The west front is a bold and fine composition, and the east end, now in ruins, was one of the richest specimens of decorated style in the kingdom. The chancel having fallen into decay, the nave was fitted up in 1636, for the performance of divine service. In the north aisle of the choir, and in a chapel near the south transept, are two finely executed monuments in the decorated style. The chapter house, the roof of which has fallen in, was a superb octagonal edifice, in dimensions inferior only to the chapter house at York : it contains thirty canopied stalls, richly ornamented with tabernacle work. The living is a vicarage not in charge, in the gift of the crown, and incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Guy. The market is on Saturday, and the annual fairs are the 15th, 16th, and 17th April, and 25th September, and six following days ; besides others, every alternate Tuesday, all for horses and cattle. The parish contained, in 1821, 4,443 inhabitants, and in 1831, 4,531 ; of which last number 2,130 were returned for the township."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]