Souter Johnnie's Cottage
Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Visit the 18th-century home of Souter Johnnie, immortalised by Robert Burns in the poem Tam o’ Shanter, and discover its fascinating artefacts.
The home of John Davidson, who was the original Souter Johnnie in Robert Burns' famous poem Tam O' Shanter contains period furniture, Burns relics and a reconstructed souter’s workshop.
Scottish literature comes to life in this 18th-century thatched cottage in the heart of Kirkoswald. 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.
In the attractive garden behind the cottage is a restored thatched alehouse. This is home to beautiful life-size statues of Tam o' Shanter, Souter Johnnie, the Innkeeper and the Innkeeper's Wife from the poem Tam o' Shanter, which were carved in sandstone in the 1830s by the sculptor James Thom.
In 1789 Burns was asked to produce a witch tale to accompany a picture of Auld Kirk Alloway in the book Antiquities of Scotland. His response was a poem regarded by many as his masterpiece, Tam o' Shanter. The story was based on an old legend about two Ayrshire farmers who spent too long drinking and on their way home saw witches dancing with the devil in the ruined Kirk at Alloway.
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