One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An annual tax of one penny from each householder having land of a certain value, paid in England until the Reformation to the papal see at Rome; = hearth-penny. In later use usually in plural Now historical.
2Roman Catholic Church. In plural: (since 1860) a voluntary contribution to the papal treasury.
Middle English. In some forms from the genitive of the name of St Peter + penny, in reference to the claim of the See of Rome to the patrimony of St Peter. In some forms from the name of St Peter + penny.
Peter's penny/ˌpiːtəz ˈpɛni/
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