Howden is a small historic market town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies north of the M62, on the A614 road about 16 miles (26 km) south-east of York and 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Goole, which lies across the River Ouse.
Howden is situated in the Vale of York, on the A614, although the town itself has been bypassed. Howden lies close to the M62 and the M18 motorways, nearby to Goole which lies at the opposite side of the River Ouse. The town is served by Howden railway station, which is situated in North Howden and has services to Leeds, Selby, York, Hull and London.
Howden is surrounded by largely flat land and in some places marshland. Much of the land surrounding Howden is separated by many drainage dykes.
One of the earliest recorded parts of Howden's history describes King Edgar giving his first wife, Ethelfleda, Howden Manor in 959 AD, the beginnings of a long connection with the royal court of England. In 1080, William the Conqueror gave the town, including its church, which later became the minster, to the Bishop of Durham, who promptly conferred the church upon the monks of Durham. However, he kept Howden Manor for himself. Records show that the church was at first a rectory, but conflicting records also show that Hugh, Prior of Durham, was given a bull from Pope Gregory IX for appropriating the church towards the maintenance of 16 monks. Howden's royal connections continued when in 1191, Prince John spent Christmas in Howden. Nine years later, John, now King of England, granted Howden the right to hold an annual fair.