One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A customary sum or due paid on behalf of a deceased person to the church or incumbent of the parish to which he or she belonged.
Old English; earliest use found in List of Guild Members, Exeter. In some forms from soul + Old English gescot, in some forms probably partly shortened from some forms and partly from soul + shot, in each case probably ultimately as alteration of Old English sāwolsceatt. Subsequently revived in antiquarian and historical use in the 17th cent., in some forms with shot as the second element, and in some forms with scot as the second element.
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