Scattering Grass In Wingrave Church

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.

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