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Brother Cadfael

Brother Cadfael is a fictional character, the detective in a series of murder mysteries by Edith Pargeter writing under the name "Ellis Peters."

Cadfael is a Benedictine monk, the herbalist at Shrewsbury Abbey in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, near the Welsh border. Cadfael himself is of Welsh extraction; his full name is Cadfael ap (son of) Meilyr ap Dafydd and he was born around 1080 to a villein (serf) family in Trefriw, in Gwynedd (northern Wales). The stories are set between about 1135 and about 1145, during the civil war between the forces of King Stephen and Empress Maud. Cadfael became a monk in middle age, after going on Crusade as both a soldier and later, a sailor. As a result, he is more familiar with the secular world than most of his brother monks. In addition, his personality more reflects modern attitudes and ethics than his own time which often puts him in conflict with his brethren on matters of justice and conscience.

Thirteen of the books were adapted for a series of television movies starring Sir Derek Jacobi although the sequence of the television episodes differs from the sequence of the novels. Within the individual teleplays, most are reasonably faithful to the books, being modified primarily to minimize the size of the speaking cast, the running time of the script, or the need for extravagant special effects. But one episode, The Pilgrim of Hate, bears almost no resemblance to the eponymous book save the presence of a few of characters sharing the names (but not the actions) of the characters in the book.


The Brother Cadfael stories

Short stories

  • A Rare Benedictine (1988)
    • "A Light on the Road to Woodstock"
    • "The Price of Light"
    • "Eye Witness"
Image:cadfael tapes.JPG


  1. A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)
  2. One Corpse Too Many (1979)
  3. Monk's Hood (1980)
  4. Saint Peter's Fair (1981)
  5. The Leper of Saint Giles (1981)
  6. The Virgin in the Ice (1982)
  7. The Sanctuary Sparrow (1983)
  8. The Devil's Novice (1983)
  9. Dead Man's Ransom (1984)
  10. The Pilgrim of Hate (1984)
  11. An Excellent Mystery (1985)
  12. The Raven in the Foregate (1986)
  13. The Rose Rent (1986)
  14. The Hermit of Eyton Forest (1988)
  15. The Confession of Brother Haluin (1988)
  16. The Heretic's Apprentice (1990)
  17. The Potter's Field (1990)
  18. The Summer of the Danes (1991)
  19. The Holy Thief (1992)
  20. Brother Cadfael's Penance (1994)

BBC Radio 4 Adaptations

  • 2 --- One Corpse Too Many
  • 3 --- Monk's Hood
  • 6 --- The Virgin in the Ice
  • 9 --- Dead Man's Ransom

Telemovies starring Sir Derek Jacobi

Produced by Central for ITV, 2 hours per episode. Filmed on location in Hungary.

  • Series I:
    • 7 --- The Sanctuary Sparrow
    • 3 --- Monk's Hood
    • 5 --- The Leper of Saint Giles
    • 2 --- One Corpse Too Many
  • Series II:
    • 4 --- Saint Peter's Fair
    • 6 --- The Virgin in the Ice
    • 8 --- The Devil's Novice
  • Series III:
    • 1 --- A Morbid Taste for Bones
    • 13 -- The Rose Rent
    • 12 -- The Raven in the Foregate
  • Series IV:
    • 10 -- The Pilgrim of Hate
    • 19 -- The Holy Thief
    • 17 -- The Potter's Field

External link

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