Ramsey Abbey in Cambridgeshire puts in a claim for the remains of St. Winifred, whose reliquary is the object of prayer and lucrative donations to Shrewsbury Abbey.



(screenplay), (based upon: The Holy Thief) (as Ellis Peters)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Terrence Hardiman ...
George Irving ...
Lord Beaumont
Benedict Sandiford ...
Frank Baker ...
Natasha Pyne ...
Lady Donata
Neil Caple ...
Money Lender


Prior Herluin arrives at Shrewsbury Abbey demanding that Abbot Radulfus hand over the reliquary containing the bones of the holy virgin St. Winifred. Pilgrims to Shrewsbury have been generous to the Abbey because of the holy relic and its loss may result in an economic downturn for the Benedictines there. Hurliun bases his claim on the reported visions of his novice monk Tutilo and the need to rebuild Ramsey Abbey, which was burned in the civil war. When a dying wealthy old woman, Lady Donata, takes a liking to the handsome Tutilo and doubts his vocation, she bequeaths a priceless jeweled necklace to him. As the necklace is worth more than enough to rebuild the abbey, Winifred's bones now seem safe at Shrewsbury, but the theft of the gems and a resultant murder throw the issue in doubt again. Among the red herrings facing Cadfael are a minstrel, his slave -- a beautiful singer who's drawn to Tutilo -- an arrogant nobleman, and Tutilo himself. The episode showcases two medieval methods... Written by duke1029@aol.com, beth-243

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

abbey | prior | vision | slave | pilgrim | See All (22) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

23 June 1998 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Prior Robert: You can;t take St; Winifred. Without her, Shrewsbury would be nothing!
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Oh My Love Has Golden Hair
Performed by Louise Delamere
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User Reviews

Who's gonna get dem bones?
1 January 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"The Holy Thief" is a bit unusual in that it does not begin as a murder mystery but is about a theft. Only later in the show does the murder occur. And, it's unusual because it's a follow up from an earlier show "A Morbid Taste for Bones".

The show begins during a torrential rain--and folks are afraid for their lives. In the midst of all the chaos, the Curate, Father Herluin arrives. Herluin was the leader of a nearby abbey--and abbey that was burned down during the recent civil war. According to Herluin, his assistant, Tutulo, had a vision of St. Winifred--therefore the bones of this dead lady (owned by Cadfael's abbey) are now theirs! It was VERY easy for the viewer to hate Herluin...very easy. And, surprisingly, he was NOT murdered. I say surprisingly because most of the time in this series, the rich and obnoxious guy is murdered! So how does Cadfael get involved with his super sleuthy skills? Well, someone tries to steal the holy bones--and in the process a young slave is kidnapped. Only later does someone end up dead--and Cadfael (as usual) believes that the man being blamed is innocent.

This is a pretty typical sort of installment of Cadfael. This means the acting and look of the Middle Ages are quite nice and the story interesting BUT very confusing if you aren't paying close attention. Worth seeing. However, if you saw "A Morbid Taste for Bones", then you'll have a laugh about the whole thing...but I can't say more, as it would ruin "A Morbid Taste for Bones" if you haven't seen it.

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