Alnwick butcher claims haggis for Northumberland

The natives of Scotland won’t accept it but it may be that haggis originated in the kingdom of Northumbria.

Monday, 24th January 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 10:51 am
Alan Hall with handfuls of haggis.

Turnbull’s of Alnwick, the family-owned butcher business, has highlighted historical claims which suggest Scotland’s national dish was first enjoyed south of the border.

Leading food historian author, Peter Brears, has claimed that haggis originated in the North East of England, and describes it as a “fine English dish” which was made throughout the country from as early as the 15th century.

Listing recipes that would have been common on coalminers tables of Northumberland, he claimed the Scots decided to take haggis on as their own when they were looking to highlight their national identity.

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Haggis, neeps and tatties.

This is backed up by historian Catherine Brown who said that she found references to the dish inside a 1615 book called The English Hus-Wife.

The title would pre-date Robert Burns’ famous poem ‘To A Haggis’, which brought fame to the delicacy, by at least 171 years.

Turnbull’s have been making ‘Northumbrian’ haggis for over 100 years, when Bobby was asked to if he sold haggis in his shop.

And its team have created a number of oven-ready haggis dishes and even a supper kit for those planning to celebrate Burns’ Night on Tuesday, January 25.

Matthew Slack, sales and marketing manager at Turnbull’s, said: “We’re claiming haggis for Northumberland based on the recent revelations. We have been making our own version for over 100 years.

“The original recipe has been passed down through generation of the family, each adding their own variation, and is created using only the finest ingredients.

"Including Northumbrian lamb, oats, and our secret blend of seasonings, the responsibility now sits with Turnbull’s sixth-generation custodian, Daniel Turnbull

“We still recognise that haggis is indeed the national dish of Scotland, we don’t want to upset our friends across the border!”

Meanwhile, fans of the Scottish Bard can enjoy a Burns Supper with a difference in Berwick.

It will start traditionally, with a haggis being piped in by a piper, but after dinner “Over the Sea” star Jesse Rae, who is rarely seen without his full Highland dress, including helmet and Claymore, is putting on a “two-hour desert o’ Funky Robert Burns” at The Meadow House on January 25.

Ticket costing £21.95 per person can be booked from 01289 298322.

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