The name “Howff” is an old word meaning a “meeting place”. Originally it was the gardens of the Grey Friars Monastery, (destroyed in 1547/8), granted to the town as a place of burial by Mary Queen of Scots in 1564. There are many references to the Howff being used as a meeting place, the first being used by the Bakers Trade in 1576. Each craft probably has its own special meeting place.
In January 1581, the agreement uniting the Nine Trades into one was signed in the Howff. This new convention held its meetings here till 1776. Sepulture (burial) was discontinued in 1857.