Term for money paid in advance by merchants to monasteries for their wool; this was often paid two or three years in advance. These were effectively loans and the merchants made their interest by discounting. As much as one fifth of the sum might have been paid early in this way. It happened when merchants were cashrich and monasteries the opposite. The *Cistercian order, so prominent in the wool trade, took such money, although the chapter-general frequently forbade such transactions. It led inevitably to debt when flocks were ruined by outbreaks of *murrain. [< Lat. arrha = a deposit, a pledge of money]
Cf. Arles

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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