Mystery!: Cadfael (1994–1996)
3 user

The Sanctuary Sparrow 

Liliwin is a poor acrobat hired to entertain at an Aurifaber wedding. But when he is dismissed and the master of the house is found unconscious and robbed, Cadfael must find the real thief before the mob takes vengeance.



(screenplay), (novel) (as Ellis Peters)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Abbot Heribert
Brother Jerome
Walter Aurifaber
Maria Miles ...
Margery Aurifaber
Daniel Aurifaber (as Richard Bonneville)
Patrick Brennan ...
John Boneth
Baldwin Peche
Sara Stephens ...
David Tysall ...


Lilwin, a traveling minstrel, entertains at the wedding feast of the son of wealthy Walter Aurifaber but incurs the wrath of the bride's grandmother when he accidentally breaks a piece of crockery. When the wealthy man is apparently bludgeoned to death and a great deal of money stolen, suspicion falls on the young man, who becomes the sparrow of the title when he seeks sanctuary at the abbey from an angry mob. Although it later turns out that Aurifaber survived his attacker, further complications arise from Lilwin's romantic involvement with one of the household's serving girls, the murder of a blackmailing gossip, and the rivalry between the young bride and her controlling sister-in-law. Written by Gabe Taverney (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

5 June 1994 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs




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Did You Know?


Hugh Bonneville (Daniel Aurifaber) and Derek Jacobi (Brother Cadfael) have both played Edward Masterson in adaptations of the 1934 novel "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie: Bonneville in Agatha Christie's Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (2010) and Jacobi in Murder on the Orient Express (2017). See more »


(at around 39 mins) When the assistant is being questioned. See more »


Brother Cadfael: [to Daniel Aurifaber] Put up that dagger or court your soul's damnation!
See more »

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User Reviews

Decent, though a few times it seemed as if folks were just lucky guessers!
18 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

This is the second Cadfael episode shown on "Mystery" here in the United States. As usual, the show has a lovely medieval look--everything is brown and dingy--just as it should be. And, the show also has a very nice location shoot look with lots of exterior scenes--not just those shot on a sound stage. And, it sure didn't hurt that once again Derek Jacobi plays the title character. However, I did feel that in spite of all this quality, this was only a relatively fair episode.

The show begins at a wedding celebration. The minstrel is being treated abominably by the hosts--and since they have money and he's just a poor wandering musician, when he protests their abuse, they toss him out--unpaid and mad. Soon after this, some unseen person bashes the man of the house over the noggin and steals their silver. Folks at the wedding used Middle Ages logic (sort of like from the witch scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"), they decide that it MUST be the disgruntled musician and they chase him through town--vowing to kill him. Smartly, he heads into the church where the brothers grant him sanctuary. Now it's up to Mr. Know-it-all, Cadfael, to solve the robbery. However, before he can do this, one of the villagers assumes room temperature. Will there be others? And, of course, who did it?

My only problem with this episode is that a couple times it seemed like Cadfael was making lucky guesses and came up with solutions amazingly quickly--like he had peeked at the script! Still, engaging and interesting.

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