St Helen's churchyard is surrounded by three rows of almshouses, whose architecture is picturesquely enhanced by proximity to the church and River Thames.
At the western side of the churchyard, Long Alley is the oldest almshouse, erected 1446, with the central porch added 1605 and lantern over the hall in 1707. The Master and Governors of Christ's Hospital for centuries have held their meetings in the Hall. It is normally open to visitors by appointment.
External paintings of biblical scenes and miniatures of Edward VI and Sir John Mason are over Long Alley's central porch; of six almswomen over the south porch and the large painting of Abingdon market cross, set high on the river end of the almshouse, were also completed by Strong in 1605 to 1607. The Charity acknowledges a grant from the Vale of the White Horse Joint Environmental Trust towards the cost of restoration of Sampson Strong's external paintings, 2002.
South of the church is the galleried Brick Alley Almshouse (1718) which reputedly replaced an earlier almshouse built prior to 1417 by Geoffrey Barbour, a builder of Abingdon Bridge. Barbour intended his almshouse as a place of shelter and refuge for the homeless poor. Rebuilding Brick Alley, completed by 1720, cost £632. Excellent workmanship was provided by Samuel Westbrooke, mason, and Charles Etty, carpenter, two well-known, skilled Abingdon craftsmen who worked on Mr Twitty's Almshouse and Abingdon Guildhall.
Charles Twitty left £1,700 in 1709, an endowment to be managed by the vicar and churchwardens of St Helen's to maintain in meat, drink, apparel and all other necessities of life, three poor aged men and women. Born in Abingdon, Twitty became deputy auditor of the exchequer and governor and benefactor of St Margaret's Hospital, Westminster. Twitty's Almshouse transferred to Christ's Hospital management in 1965.
Facing the Thames on St Helen's Wharf, the most recent almshouse was built to replace the ruinous Almshouse over the water, demolished in the 1880s. It stands beside the present Anchor Inn.
Christ's Hospital is today responsible for St John's Almshouse in the Vineyard and Tomkins' Almshouse in Ock Street. The ancient St John's Hospital, removed from the Abbey gate to the Vineyard in 1801 and was transferred to Christ's Hospital management in 1974. Likewise, Tomkins' Almshouse, founded in 1733 in Ock Street for the Baptist community, was coveyed to Christ's Hospital management in 1987.