Mystery!: Cadfael (1994–1996)
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The Raven in the Foregate 

An unpopular Puritanical priest new to Shrewsbury refuses to give a pregnant young girl absolution resulting in her apparent suicide.


Ken Grieve


Simon Burke (screenplay), Edith Pargeter (novel) (as Ellis Peters)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Brother Cadfael
Terrence Hardiman ... Abbot Radulfus
Michael Culver ... Prior Robert
Julian Firth ... Brother Jerome
Mark Charnock ... Brother Oswin
Eoin McCarthy Eoin McCarthy ... Sheriff Hugh Beringar
Peter Guinness ... Father Ailnoth
Catherine Cusack Catherine Cusack ... Catherine
Adam Bareham Adam Bareham ... Cynric
Sean Chapman ... William / Edmund
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ... Lord Giffard
Hermione Norris ... Mary
Raad Rawi ... Cassale
Carine Sinclair Carine Sinclair ... Eleanor
Paul Kavanagh ... Ralf


Abbot Radulfus brings a hard-nosed new priest for the parish, who (among other acts) refuses absolution to a pregnant girl who is then found dead. He quickly becomes so hated that no one is too sorry to see him dead. But Cadfael must not only identify his killer, but determine whether the girl was a condemned suicide or innocent murder victim -- and his findings may keep the girl's body out of holy ground. Written by mama.sylvia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

26 August 1997 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Abbot Radulfus: What plague have we brought upon the town! If she took her own life, then she is damned and must be buried in unconsecrated ground, but if she was murdered, she may have Christian burial and be at peace. Brother Cadfael, her immortal soul is at stake! You must find the truth!
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User Reviews

A very good episode, but WOW....that is a VERY dangerous town!!
16 January 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This installment of "Cadfael" begins with a new priest, Father Ailnoth, being installed in the town. To say that Ailnoth is a nasty, judgmental jerk is a gross understatement and he immediately seems to try his best to alienate himself from the townsfolk.

Around the same time, a young lady comes to Cadfael and tries to confess to him. Cadfael was technically correct in telling her that she MUST go to her priest (Ailnoth), as a Monk's duties do NOT include receiving confessions. However, Cadfael's manner was brusque--much more so than usual for this normally gentle monk.

The next day, the woman who came to Cadfael is no where to be found. She soon is found dead--drowned by an apparent suicide. When this is brought to Ailnoth's attention, he tells everyone that she was a whore and he refused to give her absolution when they met. It is assumed she killed herself following this.

Not surprisingly, soon after this Ailnoth is found dead--also drowned. This is obviously not a suicide--he was murdered. The problem is that practically the entire town is suspect since he was such a nasty guy! And, whoever did this MIGHT have also killed the girl. Cadfael's job is to sort through both these deaths and determined what actually occurred. This is especially important because whether or not the dead woman can be buried in sacred ground is at stake, since the Church won't allow suicide victims to be buried in their cemeteries. Additionally, the woman was pregnant. Who was the father?

Aside from a VERY sloppy scene where one of the actors quoted Edmund Burke (who lived in the 18th century--even though the series is set in the 11th century!!), this is an exceptional installment of the series--possibly the best. The plot has many nice twists and turns and kept me guessing for some time. I also like how Brother Cadfael dealt with the killer. However, after watching about half the shows, it did make me marvel at the shear number of murders, suicides and accidental deaths in this town!

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