A “forced” gratuity, under the excuse of a loan, exacted by some of the Plantagenet kings. First enforced in 1473, it was declared illegal by the Bill of Rights in 1689.
“Royal benevolences were encroaching more and more on the right of parliamentary taxation.”—Green: History of the English People, vol. ii. book vi. chap. i. p. 197.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894