Flos, by David Pownall

David Pownall - Flos

BBC Radio 3

Broadcast: Sunday 10th October 1982

Flos - from the Latin: Flos operatorum - the flower of craftsmen.

It's October 1216 as Turstin Stacy, a master stonemason from Nottingham, has caught up to King John at Swineshead Abbey (about 65 km away). The King owes him 272 silver marks but then, the King owes everyone - and never pays. Having been encouraged by his wife, who tells him the King is a lover of music, Turstin had bought a song from Felix, the "Fallen Priest", and hired a young boy to sing it to the King in hope that the King would pay him. If not, his house will be taken from him and his wife will be turned out onto the street. But King John is now very sick and focused on his war with the French who, under Prince Louis, have entered his lands.

Two years earlier, Turstin had done work on the King's behalf on the fortifications at Northampton and at Bedford. On the strength of it he borrowed to build a house for himself in Nottingham. When he requested money in advance to buy materials for the work, the King's clerk said yes, but, with invoices submitted but never paid, meant no. Turstin had paid out of his own funds to finish before the campaigning season began. He paid all the craftsmen and labourers out of his own pocket.

Though liking the song, the King is still unable to pay him. To help Turstin out, the King sends him, with his recommendation, up north to Carlisle for the re-building of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. In charge is Prior Alec, who has the power, and the money, to make it happen. But when he arrives, he is told that the King's recommendation mean nothing as King John is dead. Turstin finds that Prior Alec is not all he seems and decisions have to be made as the Scots are about to attack...

With Michael Williams [Prior Alec of Carlisle], Robert Eddison [St. Thomas Didymus], Mike Gwilym [Turstin Stacy, a Master Stonemason], Peter Vaughan [King John], Anne Jameson [Carlisle Lil, a Whore], Frances Jeater [Alice, Turstin's Wife], Crawford Logan [Abbot at Swineshead Abbey], James Kerry [Robin Hood, an Outlaw in Sherwood Forest ], Henry Stamper [King Alexander of Scotland / Albert, King's Clerk at Swineshead Abbey], Stephen Boxer [Felix, the Fallen Priest], Jim Reid [Sea Captain / Harper, a Stonemason], Anthony Newlands [Alan, an Outlaw in Sherwood Forest], Nigel Graham [A Monk], Elizabeth Lindsay [First Boy, from Lightwater, near Bagshot], and Jill Lidstone [The Hammerhead Child, Turstin's Child].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

The boy soloists were Piers McKeach (sp?) and Steven Harrold

Music composed and directed by Stephen Boxer.

Directed by Ronald Mason

120 minutes


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