This village has been a place of settlement since prehistoric times due to abundant supplies of water from numerous springs and exceptionally fertile land. The ancient name of Godmundingaham is derived from the Celtic words for ‘uncovered sanctuary’ (godo) and ‘a hilly place’ (mynyddis). The village, much of which is within a conservation area, is situated at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds and lies on a southerly slope between two streams. Goodmanham has a population of circa 240 and there are a number of working farms in and around the village. Between 1873 and 1966 the village had a school, the site having been provided by Lord Londesborough.

In the Stone Age era the village, with its elevated position, was considered to be the most holy place in the kingdom of Northumbria, and a pagan temple dedicated to the Saxon god Woden was built. King Edwin married a Christian princess called Ethelburga and eventually renounced paganism. In AD627 Edwin’s high priest Coifi rode on horseback to Goodmanham and threw an axe at the door of the temple. He then set about smashing the altar and idols, demolished the temple and burnt it to the ground. King Edwin went on to be baptised in York at a place which is now the site of York Minster.