1. A funeral repast, usually consisting of bread or cake with ale.
2. Money given to hunters, at the death of a fox, in order to buy ale.
1. Of or relating to funeral feasts.
2. Relating to a body of Roman priests (the Arval Brethren, "brothers of the fields") who presided over an annual fertility festival in May.
3. Of, like, or pertaining to plowed land.
Etymology: The funeral-related definitions are from Old Norse erfiöl, funeral feast, from arfr + öl, "heir ale".
The term was in use in Scotland and the North of England from at least the mid 1700s through at least the early 1900s; I'm sure it's been in use longer than that: that's just the range of references that I've run across. Variations in spelling include arvel, arvil, arthel, and averill.
Adjective definitions 2 and 3 are from Latin arvalis, "of the cultivated field".
Arval supper was a tradition in Scotland and the North of England. Some references to arval bread or arval cake say it was given to funeral guests, to be eaten at home in remembrance; other references say it was distributed among the poor.
The fox-hunting reference is apparently a payment to the hunter for killing what was considered a destructive vermin.