The Saugh Tree

The famous Saugh Tree grew adjacent to the pavement, in a field which was located near to where the western footpath entrance to the Strathbrock Partnership Centre is now. The field was owned by the father of the late Dr Woods’ who served as one of the local doctors many years ago.

The Saugh Tree was mid-way between Broxburn and Uphall and was the point at which the people of both communities would meet while on their constitutional walk.

A correspondent to the West Lothian Courier noted that the Saugh Tree was the location “that my grandfather and grandmother had their trysting place away back in 1851”.

On the 5 September 1947, the West Lothian Courier reported that “Fire has all but destroyed the old ‘Saugh’ Tree – one of the place’s landmarks”. They added that “on Tuesday evening of this week, some children at play kindled a fire at the base of the old tree and have so damaged it that there is a grave danger that it will have to be cut down”.

The West Lothian Courier reported on the 7 October 1949 that “Perhaps the most familiar landmark in Broxburn is the old Saugh Tree which stands almost directly opposite Cardross Road. For many years it has been recognised as the mark dividing Broxburn and Uphall”. Due to the dangerous state of the tree, they noted that Buchan Estates have had an order served upon them to fell the old tree. In further reporting, they added “A year or so ago some miscreants, believed to be youngsters, lit a fire at the foot of the tree”.

By mid-1990, there were plans in place for a new tree, with the West Lothian Courier stating on 3 August 1990 that “Broxburn’s ‘Saugh Tree' is to grow again after more than 40 years with the planting of a willow tree at Goschen Place”.

The replanting took place on the 9 April 1993 with the West Lothian Courier reporting that “Broxburn got a new Saugh tree this week – nearly 50 years after its historic predecessor burned down”. Interestingly, they also reported that the “unlikely guests of honour at the tree-planting ceremony were the culprits who destroyed the original landmark” - brother and sister Jack and Margaret, and their friend Drew. They also noted that “the little rascals” had kept their shameful secret, not breathing a word until two years ago. Thankfully, the authorities looked leniently on their admission!

The culprits joined local Councillors Joe Cumming, Alex Davidson and Graeme Morrice to watch the ceremony outside the Health Centre at Goschen Place (where Holmes View is now). The location was chosen as the most suitable replacement position for the tree – a white willow, salix alba liempde.

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