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Taking a train to Howden sometime soon and want to get to know a bit more about your destination?

Let's take a look at some of the most interesting tales from this historic town...

Howden's resident miracle worker

Did you know that, way back in the 14th and 15th centuries, Howden was a site of pilgrimage?

It was all thanks to a miraculous stories that had spread about John of Howden. The most famous of these was that at his own funeral in 1275, the English Franciscan friar was seen to raise his arms from his open coffin. Spooky!

Though he was never officially named as one by the Catholic Church, many people considered John a saint. The money donated by his pilgrims went towards the construction of Howden Minster.

The sad demise of Howden Minster

Work on Howden Minster started in 1228 but the imposing building, which featured a 135-foot tower, wasn't completed until the 15th century.

The Minister didn't enjoy many glory years… It began to fall into disrepair in the mid-1500s following the dissolution of the Collegiate churches when there were no funds to maintain it.

During the English Civil War, the Parliamentarians used the building as stables which, as you'd expect, caused massive damage to the interior (legend has it that, when they finally left the town, they were playing the pipes of the organ like penny whistles!).

On the 29th September 1696, the Minster finally gave up the ghost completely when the roof caved in during a thunderstorm.

Today, you can visit the impressive ruins, which stand next to the Minster church.

Horsing around at the market

In the early 19th century, Howden became famous throughout Europe for its annual horse fair, which attracted horse dealers from all over the UK and even representatives from the British Army.  It's estimated that a staggering 4,000 horses were displayed for sale each day of the fair.

Sadly, this fine tradition died out long ago (well, there's not so much call for horses nowadays, is there?) but you can still enjoy Howden's standard market every Friday at Shire Hall.

Helping out with the war effort

RNAS Howden was opened in 1916 as an airship station to protect the ports, which created hundreds of jobs in the local area.

Once the war came to an end, RNAS Howden was bought by famous engineering firm Vickers for the construction of their airship R100.

Author and aeronautical engineer Nevil Shute was part of the team there; today, a blue plaque marks his former home at 78 Hailgate.

An eye for architecture

Much of the architecture in Howden is from the Georgian and Victorian era, making it a particularly picturesque place for a stroll.

Perhaps the most notable building there is the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, one of the early works by the famous architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom.

At one time it was claimed that Howden had more pubs per square half mile than anywhere else in the country, and there's still lots of cosy historic pubs to choose from there, including the Bowmans Hotel and the Wellington Hotel. 

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