Souter Johnnie character jug produced by Montrose Pottery of Angus, Scotland, circa 1880. The character of Souter Johnnie became famous worldwide thanks to his appearance in a few lines of one of Robert Burns's greatest narrative poems, Tam o' Shanter. Burns describes him as an old friend of the protagonist, Tam, with whom he spends his time drinking in Ayres public houses on market days, often returning home late. Even though the story was based on an old legend, Burns' characters were inspired by real people that he met over the years. John Davidson was the man behind Souter Johnnie, a shoemaker who lived in the small village of Kirkoswald, in Ayrshire. His cottage is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.