- Jul 28, 2008
BBC NEWS | UK | Haggis is English, historian saysA haggis recipe was published in an English book almost two hundred years before any evidence of the dish in Scotland, an historian has claimed.
Historian Catherine Brown told the Daily Telegraph that she found references to the dish inside a 1616 book called The English Hus-Wife.
The title would pre-date Robert Burns' poem To A Haggis by 171 years.
But ex-world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick insisted: "Nobody's going to believe it."
Ms Brown said the book, by Gervase Markham, indicates that haggis was first eaten in England and subsequently popularised by the Scots.
She told the paper that the first mention she could find of Scottish haggis was in 1747.
"It was originally an English dish. In 1615, Gervase Markham says that it is very popular among all people in England," she said.
"By the middle of the 18th century another English cookery writer, Hannah Glasse, has a recipe that she calls Scotch haggis, the haggis that we know today."
Her findings are due to be broadcast in a documentary on STV in Scotland.
But Mr Patrick said the idea haggis originated in England is akin to claims by the Dutch and Chinese to have invented golf.
He added: "Anything that's to do with Scotland, everybody wants to get a part of.
"We've nurtured the thing for all these years, we've developed it, so I think very much it is a Scottish product.
"It's one of the mainstays of my business' economy so we'd never give it up."
James Macsween, whose Edinburgh-based company makes haggis, said it will remain a Scottish icon whatever its origin.
He said even if the haggis was eaten in England long before Burns made it famous, Scotland has done a better job of looking after it.
And he added: "I didn't hear of Shakespeare writing a poem about it."
By this revision of world history I am lost at words.