Mystery!: Cadfael (1994–1996)
4 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.


Graham Theakston


Russell Lewis (screenplay), Edith Pargeter (novel) (as Ellis Peters)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Brother Cadfael
Sean Pertwee ... Hugh Beringar
Peter Copley ... Abbot Heribert
Michael Culver ... Prior Robert
Julian Firth ... Brother Jerome
Roy Barraclough ... Walter Aurifaber
Rosalie Crutchley ... Juliana Aurifaber
Fiona Gillies ... Susanna Aurifaber
Maria Miles Maria Miles ... Margery Aurifaber
Hugh Bonneville ... Daniel Aurifaber (as Richard Bonneville)
Steven Mackintosh ... Liliwin
Patrick Brennan Patrick Brennan ... John Boneth
Roger Booth ... Baldwin Peche
Sara Stephens Sara Stephens ... Rannilt
David Tysall David Tysall ... Iestyn


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







Release Date:

5 June 1994 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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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 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!
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Crazy Credits

Although the first season of this series was 1994, the credits for these episodes mistakenly say MCMLXIV, which is 1964. It should be MCMXCIV for 1994. See more »

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User Reviews

The Sanctuary Sparrow
25 January 2020 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

What Cadfael does well in the early episode is having a hissable villain. You hope they get murdered or be revealed as the bad guy.

Here the groom to be at a wedding banquet pushes the minstrel Liliwin while he is doing his party tricks and the minstrel forfeits his fees and slung out of the castle.

The groom's wealthy father Walter Aurifaber is lated found bludgeoned and presumed dead. The town folk conclude Liliwin is to blame and go after him;

A fearful Liliwin seeks sanctuary from the monks. Cadfael is willing to give him the benefit of doubt.

Walter actually survives his attack but someone else later dies and the townsfolk are still after Liliwin.

This was a good dramatisation, well shot in Budapest and some rising actors in the cast. Hugh Bonneville and Toby Jones. I just did not think the adaptation held together well regarding the actual reveal and the rather melodramatic ending.

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