Butchers deny author's claim that first haggis was English

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SCOTLAND'S haggis-makers today leapt to the defence of the dish's origins after claims the first recipe for the food was published in an English book.

Food historian Catherine Brown said she found references to the dish in a book called The English Hus-Wife, dated 1615.

But she said the first mention she could find of Scottish haggis was in 1747.

Ms Brown said the book, by Gervase Markham, indicates that haggis was first eaten in England and subsequently popularised by the Scots.

But today, Robert Patrick, from the butchers Patricks of Camelon in Falkirk, said: "I find it hard to believe. I think we can still call it Scottish.

"There could well be some recipe in England that's similar.

"But the things that go in it are Scottish. There's a lot of mutton and oatmeal in the product."

Mr Patrick, who won the world-haggis maker title for 2003 to 2004 and was runner-up in the competition in 2007 to 2008, said he did not think business would be affected by the claim.

"I'm sure the customers will be as upset as me to think that England will steal our recipe," he added.

Ms Brown said: "It was originally an English dish. In 1615, Gervase Markham says that it is very popular among all people in England.

"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."

Haggis is made from a mixture of oatmeal, liver, heart and lungs.