The folk rock group Fotheringay was formed in 1970 by singer Sandy Denny upon her departure from Fairport Convention. The band drew its name from Fotheringhay Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in England. Said castle was also the inspiration for the song "Fotheringay", which Fairport Convention had included on their 1969 album What We Did on Our Holidays, before Denny's departure from the group.
Two former members of Eclection, Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway, and two former members of Poet and the One Man Band, Jerry Donahue and Pat Donaldson (bass), completed the line-up responsible for the quintet's only album. This folk-based set included several Denny originals, notably "Nothing More", "The Sea" and "The Pond and The Stream", as well as meticulous readings of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Way I Feel" and Bob Dylan's "Too Much of Nothing". Although criticized contemporaneously as constrained, Fotheringay is now viewed as a confident, accomplished work. However, the album failed to match commercial expectations and pressures on Denny to undertake a solo career—she was voted Britain's number 1 singer in Melody Maker's 1970 poll—increased.
Fotheringay disbanded in 1971 during sessions for a projected second set. Some of its songs surfaced on Denny's 1971 debut album, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens. Lucas, Conway and Donahue resurfaced in Fairport Convention in 1972 to record the Rosie album (on which some Fotheringay material was also used). However, Conway played on three tracks only and began session work afterwards. Both Conway and Donaldson have worked with Richard Thompson, among many others. Lucas and Donahue stayed with Fairport for another couple of years, with Sandy Denny rejoining in 1975 for the Rising for the Moon album. Conway eventually joined the reformed Fairport in 1999.