THE name of The Black Bitch pub in Linlithgow has been officially changed by the brewery that owns it, despite outcry from locals.

It is the oldest pub in Linlithgow and dates back to the 17th century with the name referring to a centuries-old story about a black greyhound which remained loyal to its owner while he was imprisoned.

Greene King, the brewery that owns the pub, has decided to change the name to The Willow Tree.

READ MORE: Locals 'insulted' as pub changes name due to 'racist connotations'

The company had previously suggested that the name could be changed to The Black Hound but changed due to the poor reception that this proposed name change received.

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie confirmed the name change.

He said: “Changing the pub’s name has been something we’ve been considering for some time and I’d like to thank people who’ve written to us to offer their views.

“There’s been plenty of publicity around those who don’t agree with our decision, but we’ve also had letters of support from people in Linlithgow.

“This is a difficult balance and throughout this we have continued to highlight our respect for the history of Linlithgow. Our decision is not meant to diminish or denigrate the heritage of the town but at the same time we recognise that language has changed and the name can be extremely offensive to people.

“Our commitment to changing the name is unwavering, as we strongly believe it is the right thing to do for our teams and our customers, but we do understand why our original idea to just change the one word on the sign from Bitch to Hound was not well-received by all. It was done with the best of intentions to retain the spirit of the story, but we’ve listened to people who felt it would impact negatively on the town’s emblem.

“We’re pleased therefore to be instead changing it to The Willow Tree, which retains links to the town’s heritage, and looks forward to this next chapter of the pub’s history."