Howden, Yorkshire Family History Guide

Howden is an Ancient Parish in the East Riding of the county of Yorkshire.

Other places in the parish include: Yorkfleet, Yokefleet, Thorpe near Howden, Thorpe, Skelton near Howden, Skelton, Saltmarshe, Saltmarsh, Metham, Linton, Knedlington, Kilpin, Kedlington with Booth, Cotness, Booth, Belby, Balkholme, and Asselby.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1541
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1639

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Inghamite, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Howden

  • Airmyn
  • South Cave
  • Drax
  • New Village
  • North Cave
  • Wressle
  • Bubwith
  • Barmby Marsh
  • Whitgift
  • Laxton
  • Blacktoft
  • Hook
  • Goole
  • Holme in Spalding Moore
  • Eastrington
  • Swinefleet
  • Gilberdike Mill

Historical Descriptions


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HOWDEN, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in E. R. Yorkshire. The town stands about a mile S of the Hull and Selby railway, about 1¼ mile N of the river Ouse, in a flat but fertile tract of country, 8½ miles ESE of Selby. It is an ancient place, and was originally called Hoveden or Hovendene. The manor belonged to Peterborough abbey; was forfeited by that abbey to Edward the Confessor; was given, by William the Conqueror, to the bishops of Durham; was temporarily alienated from the bishops, or demised by them, at different periods, to other parties; had a palace of theirs on the S side of the parish church; and continues still in their possession. The palace is now a ruin; showed recently a centre, a front, and a W wing; was converted, in conjunction with modern buildings, into a farm house; had, to the E, several large structures, which appear to have included an extensive cloister or vault, -to the W, a very long range of barns or granaries, on the S, a park extending to the Ouse; and was the favourite residence of some of the most distinguished of the bishops of Durham, and the death place of Bishops Pudsey, Kirkham, and Skirlaw. The church succeeded a previous one, noticed in Domesday book, and appears to have been partly built with its materials. It was originally rectorial, in the patronage of the prior and convent of Durham; but, in 1267, it was made collegiate for five prebendaries, each of them to maintain at his own cost a priest and clerk; and it afterwards had a sixth prebendary, and five chantries. It lost its collegiate character and its revenues at the Reformation; it soon afterwards began to show symptoms of decay; its choir was relinquished for public use in 1630, in consequence of having become unsafe; and this was subsequently much injured by disturbances of the civil war, and became roofless and otherwise ruinous in 1696. But the church, as it now stands, though a ruin in the E part, is one of the noblest in Yorkshire, presents a venerable aspect, and is 255 feet long. It belongs chiefly to the 13th century, but includes some fine additions of later date; and the W portion is in good repair, and used regularly for divine service. The pile consists of a nave of seven bays, with a N aisle and two S aisles; a transept of two bays, with an E chantry in each wing; a S porch; a central tower; the ruined choir; and an octagonal chapterhouse, with a S chapel. The nave is 105 feet long and 66 wide; the transept is 117 feet long and 30 wide; the tower is 135 feet high; the choir is 120 feet long and 66 wide; and the nave was restored in 1869. The W front is very rich; has a recessed great door, between two blank arches filled with tracery; shows a window of two orders and four lights, with croketted canopy and decorated geometrical tracery; and is flanked, in front, with two pinnacled octagonal turrets. The tower is of two. stories, embattled, with NW turret; and has, on the first story two very lofty, blank, transomed, mullioned, perpendicular windows. The choir is beautiful even in ruins: its E end consists of a high pinnacled gable, between pedimented buttresses and two octagonal four stage towers; and its aisles are flanked by niched buttresses and octagonal turrets. The chapter house has a rich arch and vestibule; it had an octagonal stone roof, which fell in 1750; and it contains thirty seats with very delicate and beautiful sculpture. The interior of the church contains an altar piece of 1764, by Bell of Selby; a rood screen, with quatrefoils in the spandrils; and two altar tombs and some other monuments of much antiquity and interest. The town has been much improved, and is neat, respectable, and well built. It has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, two chief inns, a town hall, three dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a grammar school, a national school, a mechanics' institute, an agricultural association, a workhouse, and charities about £40; is a seat of county courts and a polling place; and gives the title of Baron to the Cradocks of Grimston. An ancient building, called the moot hall, was taken down in 1822. The town hall is a stone edifice, opposite the church; and serves for the county courts. The Wesleyan chapel was built in 1866; and it and the R. Catholic chapel are handsome. The grammar school has £22 a year from endowment. The workhouse stands at the W extremity of the town; and is a substantial building, in the Tudor style. A weekly market is held on Saturday; a cattle market, on every alternate Tuesday; a wool market, in June and July; and fairs, chiefly for horses and cattle, on 15, 16, and 17 April, on the Monday and five following days after Doncaster races, and on 2 Oct. The chief local trade, besides that of the markets and the fairs, is connected with a tannery, three brick and tile works, some corn mills, and a small boat harbour on the Ouse. Roger de Hoveden, a monkish chronicler, was a native; and Edward II. visited the town in 1312. Pop. in 1851, 2,235; in 1861, 2,376. Houses, 539. The township comprises 2,774 acres. Real property, £10,732; of which £150 are in gas works. Pop., 2,507. Houses, 566. The parish contains also the townships of Barmby-on-the-Marsh, Asselby, Knedlington, Kilpin, Skelton, Saltmarshe, Cotness, Yokefleet, Laxton, Metham, Balkholme, Belby, and Thorpe. Acres, 16,292. Real property, £34,424. Pop., 5,209. Houses, 1,119. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of York. Value, £178. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The chapelries of Barmby-Marsh and Laxton are separate benefices. The sub-district contains also Wressell parish, three townships of Hemingbrough, two of Eastrington, and the extra-parochial tract of Brindleys. Acres, 28,443. Pop., 6,934. Houses, 1,496. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Holme, conterminate with Holme-upon-Spalding-Moor parish; the sub-district of Bubwith, containing the parishes of Bubwith and Ellerton-Priory, and two townships of Aughton; and the sub-district of Newport, containing the parishes of Blacktoft, New Village, and Hotham, three townships of Eastrington, two of South Cave, two of North Cave, and the extraparochial tract of Cheapsides. Acres, 72,253. Poor rates, in 1863, £6,084. Pop. in 1851, 14,436; in 1861, 15,001. Houses, 3,156. Marriages, in 1862, 111; births, 653, of which 50 were illegitimate; deaths, 401, of which 161 were at ages under 5 years, and 11 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,245; births, 5,740; deaths, 3,322. The places of worship, in 1851, were 14 of the Church of England, with 4,477 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 450 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 150 s.; 26 of Wesleyans, with 3,992 s.; 11 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,211 s.; 2 of Roman Catholics, with 120 s.; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 23 attendants. The schools were 19 public day schools, with 1,117 scholars; 46 private day schools, with 858 s.; 24 Sunday schools, with 1,417 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 6 s.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Asselby, 2 miles W. Howden. P. 293

Source: Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Langdale A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire 1822

Asselby, in the parish of Howden, wapentake of Howdenshire; 2 miles from Howden, 8 from Selby. – Pop. 254.

Here Nigel Fossard had two extensive fisheries, which yielded on an average, 2,400 eels annually.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire By Thomas Langdale. Second Edition. Printed and Sold by J. Langdale; and sold by T. Langdale, Ripon. 1822.


Langdale A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire 1822

Balkholme, in the parish of Howden, wapentake of Howdenshire; 2¾ miles from Howden, 12 from South-Cave, 12¼ from Selby. – Pop. 105.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire By Thomas Langdale. Second Edition. Printed and Sold by J. Langdale; and sold by T. Langdale, Ripon. 1822.

Family History Links

FamilySearch – Birth Marriage & Death records, Census, Migration & Naturalization and Military records – Free


Vision of Britain historical maps


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Arton James, Howden, Yorkshire, draper, Oct. 13, 1837.

Richardson Thomas, Howden, Yorkshire, cattle dealer, Dec. 6, 1831.

Scholfield John: and John Clough ; Selby and Howden, bankers, Nov. 4, 1831.

Singleton Joseph, Halifax, & Howden. Yorkshire, linen draper, Dec. 22, 1829.

Smith Richard, Howden, Yorkshire, tallow chandler, Oct. 30, 1821.

Spofforth Robert, jun., Howden, Yorkshire, scrivener, May 29, 1824.


  • County: Yorkshire
  • Civil Registration District: Howden
  • Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Durham within the Jurisdiction of Howden and Howdenshire
  • Diocese: York
  • Rural Deanery: Harthill and Hull
  • Poor Law Union: Howden
  • Hundred: Howdenshire
  • Province: York