One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Orkney, Caithness, and Shetland: a division of land on which a tax of one silver penny was owed to the overlord (probably originally the king of Norway), comprising one eighteenth of a urisland. Also: (in the Hebrides and parts of the western mainland) a similar division of land equal to one twentieth of a tirung or ounceland.
Middle English (in an earlier sense). From penny + land.
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