The Reverend Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, and his protégé Lord Peter Dattering are visiting an Abbey library. Studying a stained glass window they uncover clues leading to a treasure hidden by a disgraced Abbot.

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(dramatisation), (story) (as Montague Rhodes James)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Bryant ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peggy Aitchison ...
Landlady
Virginia Balfour ...
Lady Dattering
Anne Blake ...
Local Lady
Sheila Dunn ...
Mrs. Tyson
John Herrington ...
Abbot Thomas
Paul Lavers ...
Peter, Lord Dattering
Frank Mills ...
Mr. Tyson / Father Dominic
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Storyline

The Reverend Justin Somerton (Michael Bryant), a professor of Medieval History, is approached by a former pupil - Lord Peter Dattering (Paul Lavers). Dattering fears that his widowed mother is being exploited by a couple of charlatans posing as mediums and offering her the chance to commune with her late husband. Somerton agrees to attend one of their séances and outwits the fraudsters. Somerton tells Dattering of the research he has been conducting into the history of a monastery and shows him a book which details the exploits of a former Abbot - and of the treasure he is reputed to have hidden somewhere within the catacombs of the monastery. The two find a number of clues to the location of this treasure, not just in the Latin texts but in a stained glass window. They ignore the warning that the treasure is protected by a guardian - shaking Somerton's rational beliefs to the core. Written by Mark_a_Wood <markawood@hotmail.co.uk>

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gothic horror | based on book | See All (2) »

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Mystery

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23 December 1974 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Story for Christmas: Treasure of Abbot Thomas  »

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GHOST STORY FOR Christmas: TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS (TV) (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1974) ***
23 January 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

An interestingly historical and enjoyably deductive episode of this yearly series adapted, as were several entries, from an M. R. James short story – which apparently also inspired the Dario Argento production THE CHURCH (1990) – about the search for a treasure hidden away years before in a monastery catacombs. The seekers are a current member of the religious order (Michael Bryant) and his enthusiastic young pupil; the latter's mother often employs the services of a would-be medium to conduct séances with the object of contacting her late husband but, in an early highlight, Bryant exposes the proceedings as a sham by interrogating the spirit – supposedly of a past man of the cloth – in both Latin and French to confirm or disprove his veracity. Their investigation of the treasure's whereabouts take them to a chapel with tell-tale illustrated windows and stony gargoyles seemingly pointing to the hidden loot. Since the clues are given out in the form of Latin riddles or quotations, it can prove somewhat heavy-going at times and the scenes depicting the attacks of the slimy guardian are very hurriedly dealt with, the panic-stricken Bryant being left with the burden of projecting the real horror of what he had in fact confronted. The climax – in which Bryant is about to get his comeuppance by supposedly meeting the abbot face to face while convalescing wheelchair-bound in a garden – takes place off-screen but still provides a satisfyingly creepy coda.


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