Welcome to St Helen's, Abingdon-on-Thames
This is a building that has been steadily evolving for over a thousand years. Each generation has made its mark on it in ways that reflect their life and spiritual vision. So you are looking at living history, the outward expression of the life of a Christian community that has worshipped here without a break at least since 995AD.
Today we, the latest representatives of the St Helen’s Church community, are delighted to welcome you, and hope you enjoy your visit.
Some Historical High Points
600 – 700s A small nunnery, Helenstowe, existed on this site.
995 A Saxon church dedicated to St Helen already existed on this site.
1180 The present structure began to take shape.
1247 The Lady Chapel was added to the existing church by Abingdon’s prominent Guild of Our Lady.
1380’s The Guild commissioned the Lady Chapel painted ceiling, completed in 1391.
1420 The Fraternity of the Holy Cross built the St Helen, now Nave, Aisle where, at the east end, the high altar was re-located.
This was followed by the addition of another aisle southward, the St Katharine Aisle.
1538 The dissolution and despoliation of the prestigious Abingdon Abbey under King Henry VIII occurred.
1539 The last of St Helen’s five aisles, was built closest to the Thames. The church was re-ordered according to Reformation principles.
1700’s A major Georgian re-ordering took place.
1873 - 97 A major Victorian, neo-gothic renovation took place.
2004 The most recent re-ordering began.
2006 A new ring of bells was installed in the tower.
TODAY The Church continues as a vibrant community of Christian worship, witness and service to the people of Abingdon.
The rest of the guide will be available soon in print and as a pdf download