Described in OS name books as “45 chains south of Freelands”, and “A small publick house with yard and garden attached”. It appears in the 1858 Post Office Directory with William Holmes as the licensee.
A bench mark was incised here during the Ordnance Survey first primary levelling of England & Wales. It was found to be 205.3760 feet [62.5986 metres] above mean sea level. It was included on the Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Berwick-upon-Tweed levelling line. The surveyor’s description was No. 108. Mark on stone in front wall of the Willow Tree Inn ; 2.49 ft. above road.
There was a Toll Gate for the Cow Causey to Buckton Burn Turnpike Trust at the junction about 150 yards south of the Willow Tree Inn.
Willow Tree Cottages continued to appear on OS maps. The current service station was constructed in 1983.