A COMMEMORATIVE plaque honouring Kilbarchan’s iconic musician and bard Habbie Simpson is to be erected in the village.

Independent councillor Andy Doig, who represents the area, convinced his fellow elected members on Renfrewshire Council that there should be more tributes to the former town piper in the village.

Habbie Simpson lived from 1550 to 1620 and his name is so synonymous with the village that people from Kilbarchan are commonly known as ‘Habbies’.

Habbie’s significance is also celebrated every year at the Lilias Day event, and Cllr Doig said he was pleased the council agreed to further highlight the ancient piper’s influence on the area.

He said: “In the wake of the unsuccessful bid for Paisley 2021, I am upbeat about the heritage and cultural offer which Paisley and the rest of Renfrewshire can exhibit.

“To get these crucial tourist numbers which bring areas like Stirling and Edinburgh a massive income per annum, Renfrewshire has to stop being shy about the rich history we have in our villages and proclaim it to the world.

“In that spirit I was delighted my motion at the last full council meeting to erect a commemorative plaque in Church Street, Kilbarchan, to the iconic Habbie Simpson, was approved unanimously.

“Habbie Simpson popularised a form of writing Scots poetry known as the “Standard Habbie”, and this was later taken up by Rabbie Burns, the national bard.

“All major cities proclaim their history through a commemorative plaque scheme and it is interesting that one of Burns contemporaries, the Kilbarchan Poet, Robert Allan, has a plaque and fountain erected in Church Street, Kilbarchan.

“Allan would have been influenced by the “Standard Habbie” style so it is eminently fitting that both Allan and Habbie should be commemorated there.”

Habbie is buried in Church Street in the former West Kirk Graveyard and there is a statue of him on the steeple in the village square, which the Lilias Day parade passes.

Cllr Doig added: “Church Street is at the heart of the conservation area in Kilbarchan and having these two plaques, as well as the iconic Weavers Cottage, will make it a kind of Heritage Hub for the whole of West Renfrewshire.”

Cllr Iain Nicolson, council leader, said: “Towns and villages throughout Renfrewshire have a rich and diverse history.

“Kilbarchan musician and bard Habbie Simpson contributed a great deal to our country’s literary history and this is being recognised through the commemorative plaque that will be erected in Church Street in his honour.

“Each area of Renfrewshire has a unique character and heritage and has an important role to play in promoting the area to potential visitors.

“Through the launch of the dedicated destination brand, Paisley.is, and our visitor strategy we are committed to celebrating all the stories of our place and recognising all our towns and villages as being places of culture.”