The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

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"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"
Ghost stories of an antiquary.jpg
Author M.R. James
Country England
Language English
Genre(s) Horror short story

"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas" is a ghost story written by M.R. James. It was published in his book Ghost Stories of an Antiquary.


The tale tells the story of the Rev. Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, who tells a rector the frightening tale of how, while searching an abbey library, he found clues leading him to the hidden treasure of a disgraced abbot.


"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"
A Ghost Story for Christmas episode
Treasure of Abbot Thomas.jpg
Title screen
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 4
Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark
Written by M. R. James (story)
John Bowen (adaptation)
Original air date 23 December 1974
Episode chronology
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"Lost Hearts"
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"The Ash Tree"

In 1974 the story was adapted as part of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas strand by John Bowen.[1] It was first broadcast on 23 December 1974 at 11.35.[2] The adaptation stars Michael Bryant as Somerton, and it was directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark.

In creating his adaptation, Bowen changed a number of elements of M.R. James's story, such as including another character, Lord Peter Dattering (Paul Lavers) as Somerton's protégé, with whom he shares his investigation. The story is not told in flashback, and also includes a scene in which Somerton exposes two fraudulent mediums, which acts as a demonstration of Somerton's rational approach to the supernatural.[3]

A parody, written by Stephen Sheridan and named The Teeth of Abbot Thomas was made for radio broadcast.


  1. ^ The Treasure of Abbot Thomas on IMDb
  2. ^ "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas". British Film Institute Database. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  3. ^ Brockhurst, Colin. "A Ghost Story for Christmas". Retrieved 2010-09-10. 

External links[edit]