This is a strange ritual, but one recent enough to be traceable and so makes sense, well sort of. This is from Highways & Byways in Buckinghamshire:
[Wingrave] church is the principal attraction. There is, for example, a rhyming record of a charity in one of the aisles:
As day doth pass from houre to houre
Man’s life doth fade awaye
Let every man relieve the poor
Whilst he on Earth doth staye
Sir Richard Goddard who is dead
And laid within the ground
Unto the Poore of Wingrave
Hath given twenty pound
The yearly profit of which stocks
The poor must haue full sure
and eke the same from time to time
For ever to endure.
Sir Richard Goddard’s charity still obtains, and is now managed by the parish council. There is an oak chest in the vestry dated 1684. But the greatest interest in Wingrave lies in the custom of scattering hay or grain the church the first Sunday after St Peter’s day each year. This custom is still carefully observed, and there is a large congregation. The subject is one that might inspire a latter-day novelist or even a journalist. It had its origin in the fact that an old lady who had lost her way on a wintry night found it again on hearing the church bells ring, and therefore she left a meadow to endow the quaint custom in question.