When the Wallace Yew was almost destroyed by lightning some years ago, saplings were carefully taken and looked after by the council, today one of those saplings took its place beside its big brother. The only downside was that we only found out through some of our members that this was happening, it could've been much better publicised. Along with the usual dignitaries and hard working council workers, Wallace Primary School sent along a pupil from every year to help plant the sapling, great to see the kids involved and see a bit of history being made.

As David R Ross wrote: "At the Elderslie, Renfrewshire site, two famous trees once stood, the Wallace Oak, and the Wallace Yew. The yew alone remains. Some doubt has recently been cast on the antiquity of this tree, but parish records from the 1700's refer to it as "this ancient tree".

As the oldest tree in Europe is a yew which stands in Fortingall in Perthshire and is over 3,000 years of age, it is interesting to think that this tree is named the Wallace Yew for other than the site of its location.

The famous Wallace Oak which is claimed to have afforded shelter to William and his followers from an English patrol, finally fell in a storm in the 1850's. This ancient tree had been measured some years before its fall, when it was found that its branches covered 495 square yards!"

He covered this more extensively in the 'Origins' chapter of his book "On the Trail of William Wallace"

The Wallace Yew in 2005

An extract from the Statistical Account for Scotland dated 1845, where the Yew is mentioned:

"Near the west end of the village of Elderslie, and on the south side of the turnpike road passing through it, a tenement of rather ancient appearance is pointed out as the house in which the renowned hero Sir William Wallace was born. But if this brave defender of his country was born, as is generally allowed, on the spot, it must have been in a habitation of older date. Adjoining this house is an old garden, from the foundation of whose walls, about thirty years ago, a stone was dug, bearing the following inscription cut in Roman letters, "W.W.W. CHRIST IS MY ONLY REDEEMER". The stone was taken to Elderslie House, the seat of Alexander Speirs, Esq. M.P., where it still remains."

The Wallace Stone
The Wallace Plaque

"Near "Wallace's House", the name by which the above-named mansion is known, but on the north side of the turnpike road, stands the very celebrated tree called "Wallace's Oak". Many are the years that must have rolled away since this tree sprung from the acorn. About eight or ten years ago, its trunk measured twenty feet in circumference. Now, it measures only 14 feet and 2 inches. It was 60 feet in height, and its branches extended to the east 45 feet, to the west 36, and to the north 25, covering altogether a space of 19 English poles. It derives its name from having, as tradition affirms, afforded shelter to Wallace and a party of followers, when pursued by their enemies, in the same way as the Boscobel oak afterwards did to Charles II.

It is also worthy of notice, that, in the garden of Wallace's house, there is to be seen a fine specimen of our Scottish yew, said to be coeval with, some say older than, the celebrated oak. But be this as it may, it is certainly of ancient date, and tradition has assigned to it the name of "Wallace's Yew".

The names of several places in the vicinity of Elderslie confirm the opinion of that village having been the birth-place, or at least the dwelling-place, of the Scottish hero."

Special thanks to John Newlands for the Wallace Stone and Plaque photographs


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The Society of William Wallace is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registration number SC045959