Belinda Kempster & Fran Foote

A mother and daughter from Essex, sharing songs and singing together.

Belinda began singing traditional songs in the 60s and has always preferred English country songs. Our family has a history of farming and working on the land, these songs come from the work and recreation of that way of life.

Belinda and her husband John met in a folk club and Fran grew up immersed in the local folk scene, learning songs from her parents from a very young age.

'Uncle' Ernie Austin was an agricultural engineer from north Essex. He lived and worked in a small village (Bentley) just outside Colchester and sang songs related to his work and recreation. Stuff you'd sing down the pub. He was recorded by Topic records in 1973 and appeared on their release 'Flash Company' in 1974.

'Ernest Austin is now 83 years of age and he lives in a small village to the east of Colchester in Essex. He left school at 12 to work as a kitchen boy in a farmhouse, earning 3/6d in return for a 60-hour week. For most of his early life he worked on the land as a farm labourer until, with experience, he became an agricultural engineer, retiring at the age of 70.'

We are recording a collection of Ernie's songs from 'Flash Company', those taught to Belinda by Ernie and from private family recordings. Also included are personal favourites from Belinda's repertoire. We want our family's music to be documented, without frills or fuss.

Families singing together is special and so are these songs and we don't want them to be lost. Traditional music represents the history, traditions and thoughts of a community. This is the tradition of our family and singing these songs together feels like coming home.


On Clay Hill

"Unaccompanied folk singing at its timeless and uncompromising best."

7/10 Uncut

"Fans of traditional song should get Belinda Kempster and Fran Foote's On Clay Hill immediately, a bracingly good, largely a cappella album of ballads by the mother and daughter duo."

The Guardian

"...totally captivating and enormously powerful and resonant."

RnR magazine

Buy Online

Buy Online

  1. John Barleycorn
  2. The Sheep Shearing Song
  3. Dark Eyed Sailor
  4. Bushes and Briars
  5. Female Drummer
  6. Little Bugger
  1. Dearly Missed
  2. Nutting Girl
  3. Knife in the Window
  4. Bonny Labouring Boy
  5. Tarry Trousers
  6. Ernie's Song

Upcoming Dates

Date Location Site



Dark Eyed Sailor
The Sheep Shearing Song


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