The great haggis rift

Leading haggis producer Macsween has pointed out it was Scotland's greatest writer, not England's, who wrote in praise of the sheep innards delicacy, after recent research uncovered the fact that the haggis might be an English invention.

Historian Catherine Brown has claimed she has found an English recipe for haggis dating back to 1616, which precedes Robert Burns' famous To A Haggis poem of 1787 by 171 years. But haggis firm Macsween of Edinburgh has added that the dish is linked to a number of countries.

Company director Jo Macsween said: "It's great that Catherine Brown has brought this up for debate, as it is a debate I am very glad to hear. Haggis is an international food, as old as man's desire to hunt. Where it is Scottish is where, unlike Shakespeare, Robbie Burns wrote a damn good poem about it."

Macsween added that she tends to agree with food writer Clarissa Dickson Wright, who wrote that the name 'haggis' probably originated from Scandinavia, which has close links with Scotland. The word 'hag' is thought to originate from old Norse and Icelandic.

A recipe similar to haggis, Macsween pointed out, dates back to 1390 and was devised by one of Richard II's cooks.