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:
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

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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?


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Brother Cadfael: It'll help with the pain.
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User Reviews

it warms up, but not the best episode
17 October 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It starts slow, with a bit about the civil war (Empress Matilda versus Stephen) and a determined Prior. The area is in danger of flooding, the roof abbey roof is leaking. Then we get to the murder. Also a singing slave girl is stolen and nearly killed, her owner also sings as part of their act. The remains of a saint that brings pilgrims to the Abbey are also taken, as are jewels given by a dying patroness to rebuild a distant Abbey. There is a trial by water where the innocent sink, the guilty float and get their hand chopped off if they are liars, hung if murderers. Then a trial to see who gets to keep the saints remains by opening the bible at random and reading the passage and judging its relevance. Cadfael does the business as usual, solving mysteries with medieval forensic science and psychology. Its lots of fun.

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