Howden Minster

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Opening Times:

All year round
24-26 Dec and 1 Jan closed



Venue contact details:

T: 01430 430332

Howden Minster

Visiting Howden during his first tour of Yorkshire in 1797, Turner already had a reputation for architectural subjects, especially old abbeys and churches. The church of St Peter & St Paul at Howden was one of the largest and finest in East Yorkshire and reflected the very great prosperity of these agricultural lands at the end of the middle ages.

Turner's sense of detail for such a complex and intimidating subject is impressive. He very rarely made any mistake, nor, even more remarkably, did he get into any great difficulty over proportions or perspective. By the time he reached Howden, he was very well practiced, having drawn many of the most complex and challenging buildings in the north.

Dogs acceptedEnglish Heritage

Turner's Viewpoint

Even though Turner had already travelled the best part of eight hundred miles in the north, and made two hundred fine sketches, his enthusiasm for observation and careful notation was as powerful and penetrating as ever and he made two particularly finely detailed pencil studies of the east end of Howden Minster. He began sketching to the left with the chapter house on one page (Howden Minster: Chapter House and East End, 'North of England' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXIV 78) and proceeded across the right page to take in the great east window (Howden Minster: East End, 'North of England' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXIV 77).

Turner's exact viewpoint of Howden Minster is accessible today.  While the core of the church still serves as Howden's parish church, the collegiate structures, including the chapter house and chancel, are beautifully decorated ruins with Gothic carvings. The ruins are in the care of English Heritage and are viewable only from the outside.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench and panel are located in the small piazza on High Bridge, very close to the Minster.

Turner's Religious Houses

Listen to Episode 4 of our Turner podcast series when Turner expert, Professor David Hill, is joined by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, as they look at Turner's sketches and paintings of Yorkshire's historic religious houses.

The Venue


Market Place, Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire, DN14 7BL

Map reference: SE749282

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Directions to Howden Minster:

Near the junction of A63 and A614 in the centre of Howden