One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In England and Ireland: a tax levied upon all occupiers of land or property within each parish to fund the maintenance of the parish church and the provision of services.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Owen (1616–1683), theologian and Independent minister. From church + rate.
church rate/ˈtʃəːtʃ reɪt/
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