Friday, 2 May 2014

Souter Johnnies Cottage

See Scottish literature come to life in this 18th-century thatched cottage in the heart of Kirkoswald, Ayr. The former home of cobbler – or souter – John Davidson, the real-life Souter Johnnie immortalised in the Robert Burns poem Tam o’ Shanter, it features a thatched tavern in the garden, complete with life-sized sandstone statues of the poem’s main characters.

The house also offers a taste of how the Davidson family would have lived and worked – inside the cottage there is a reconstructed shoemaking workshop crammed with Souter Johnnie’s original tools, as well as living quarters with period furniture. There’s also a small collection of Robert Burns memorabilia.

Souter Johnnie and his wife are Buried in the Churchyard in Kirkoswald as are Robert Burns Great Grandparents. Burns was also a scholar under tuition from the local school master. There is quite a lot of information on the web about the churchyard and the ruined Church

Souter Johnnies Cottage.

The cottage was closed when we first got there, once it opened we were aware there was an alarm going off. It turned out to be the fire alarm. The custodian opened the stone shed in the yard which was the original ale house and contains life size stone figures of the people who appear in Burns poem Tam O'shanter

The local fire brigade turned out to make sure that there was no fire in the cottage before we were allowed in. OOOhhhhh hunky firemen.

and their fire engine parked outside the cottage

This was an addition to the original cottage and contains the instruments used by a shoe maker to ply his craft.

It was evident the difference in furnishings that this was a family who were better off than the Burns family.

This room was much larger than the rooms in Burns cottage, mostly used to display material etc about the property.

The main living room of the house, would have been where the family lived, two box beds possibly would have had truckles underneath. There was also a staircase into the attic which had two fireplaces one at each end, the children would have slept up there. The quilts on the beds were modern, as is the 'clippy' mat on the floor

Pictures on the wall illustrating the story of Tam O'Shanter.

Plaque in the church yard

The ruined church and churchyard

Whilst we were waiting for the cottage to open we nipped down to Maidens, there used to be several ship builders plied their trade, all evidence is long gone.


  1. What wonderful photos! How interesting to have the stone figures sitting in the room! I really love the furniture and dishes in the rooms shown in the 11th, 12th, and 13th pictures. Ta!

    It is sad that the old skills for ship building and other such work are nearly a thing of the past.

    I'll be off to the library in a little while as I need books. It's a sunny, breezy, warm day here. Just lovely! Hope you've enjoyed a pretty day, too.


  2. Thanks again for such interesting reading and photos. You certainly packed a lot into your days up in Scotland. How lovely to see the blue skies too.

    Have a lovely weekend, with lots of sunshine, relaxing with a glass of wine on your patio.


  3. Want to tell you how much I've enjoyed "going on holiday with you." Such interesting places you've toured. Love your history commentary and wonderful pictures.
    Thank you! Janice

  4. Thank you for the photos and information, very nice, just my cup of tea.
    Pam in Texas.


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