Young Tradition

The Young Tradition

The Young Tradition were a British folk group of the 1960s, formed by Peter Bellamy, Royston Wood and Heather Wood. They recorded three albums of mainly traditional British folk music, sung in arrangements for their three unaccompanied voices.


The Young Tradition were formed on 18 April 1965 by Peter Bellamy, Royston Wood (born 1935 died 8 April 1990) and Heather Wood (born Arielle Heather Wood, 31 March 1945, Attercliffe, Sheffield, Yorkshire) (who was unrelated to Royston Wood). Most of their repertoire was traditional British folk music, sung without instrumental accompaniment, and was drawn especially from the music of the Copper Family from Sussex, who had a strong oral musical tradition. They augmented the pure folk music with some composed songs which were strongly rooted in the English folk tradition, such as sea shanties written by Cyril Tawney, of which "Chicken on a Raft" was the most notable.

In the late 1960s, London became the centre of the English folk music revival and The Young Tradition moved there, sharing a house with John Renbourn, Bert Jansch and Anne Briggs.

They recorded three albums and an EP, on the Transatlantic Records label. They also collaborated with Shirley Collins on an album called The Holly Bears the Crown. Although recorded in 1969 it was not released in full until 1995. Transatlantic also released a compilation record in 1969: The Young Tradition Sampler.

Their later work became more influenced by mediaeval music and, in 1969, the group split up on account of their different musical preferences, with Bellamy wanting to pursue pure traditional music. Their final concert was at Cecil Sharp House, home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, in October 1969.

Royston Wood died after a car accident in 1990, and Peter Bellamy committed suicide in 1991.


  • The Young Tradition - 1965
  • So Cheerfully Round - 1966
  • Chicken on a Raft - 1968 (EP)
  • Galleries - 1969
  • The Young Tradition Sampler - 1969


  • Bob Copper, A Song for Every Season: 100 Years in the Life of a Sussex Farming Family, Heinemann, 1971. ISBN 0-434-14455-X

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