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Grants of Dornoch—Grants of Speyside—Haggis and Black Pudding

The butcher business that became Grants of Speyside was earlier known as Grants of Dornoch. The production of haggis and black pudding is among their specialties. This is their history.

 Table of Contents 
Grants of Achosnich, Dornoch, County Sutherland, Scotland.

Grants of Speyside are a fifth generation family butcher business — founded in the town of Dornoch, Sutherland County, Scotland, in 1824 by John Grant (1799–1894), who married Frances Murray (1818–1888). Their "proudest products" are traditional haggis and black pudding. The company produces "a massive 100 tonnes of Haggis per year!"

In the 1880s, John Grant II (1849–1915), the son of the founder, took over the business and moved to a shop in Cathedral Square, Dornoch. Dornoch is a seaside village about 45 miles north of Inverness, on the north shore of Dornoch Firth near where it opens into the Moray Firth, and a mile or two east of A9. (Here is a map.). In 1996, the company also opened a small factory in Grantown-on-Spey, which (according to Google Maps) is 75 road miles south of Dornoch. The Dornoch operation continued to be known as Grants of Dornoch. For a short history of the small Highland town of Dornoch, go to Introduction to Dornoch's history on Teacher's notes.

John Grant II married Jessie Sutherland (1850–1926) on January 29, 1874, in Dornoch. The haggis now produced by Grants of Speyside is made according to a recipe, still secret, developed by Jesse Sutherland Grant, wife of John Grant II. There is a photograph of Jessie Grant on Facebook with this note:

This is a photo of Jessie Grant, Stuart's great grand mother. She was the first of the Grant family to make the haggis and black pudding. She did this at the same time as bringing up six children. Multi-tasking?

The deaths of the two John Grants, father and son, are listed in the DORNOCH index by SURNAME (pdf)  to The Burial Grounds of Sutherland as follows:

Surname Name Died Age Parish Place named on stone Ref. no.
Grant John 1982 95 Dornoch Achosnich DO-A55
Grant John 1915   Dornoch Achosnich DO-A55

Achosnich is about 5 miles northwest of the town of Dornoch on the north shore of the River Evelix where Allt Loch Lannsaidh, flowing southwest from Loch Lannsaidh, joins the River Evelix, which is flowing southeast. Coordinates are 272660 and 893958. Go to, enter Achoshnich in the search box, and choose Achosnich, Dornoch, Sutherland, IV25 3NQ.

A map on Place Names in Dornoch Parish shows Achvaich, Achosnich, and Rearquhar in the center, proceeding from west to east, with a distance of about one mile between each settlement. The listing of the place names contains these entries:

ACHOSNICH (Achuschosnich) — Gaelic, cornered field — part of the Rearquhar estate. [Achosnaich in 1275 known as Hachencossie]

ACHVAICH [Achvaich in 1557 known as Aucheveyich]

FLEUCHARY (Flewchary) – Gaelic, wet sheiling - part of the Rearquhar estate – west side of A9 between Evelix and Poles (not shown on the map). [Fluchary also known as Fleuchary]

REARQUHAR (Riarchar) – Gaelic, rhi, declivity, last part may be a proper name — pre 1787 part of the Skelbo estate — 1787 till 1815 held by Col. Geo. Sutherland — west side of A9 between Evelix and Poles.  (See: George Sutherland of Riarchar: The Last of the Tacksmen, 1971,  by Elizabeth Robertson Mackay.) [Rearchar an old estate to the west of Dornoch parish; 13th century Ruthenercher; 15th century Ruryarcha; 16th century Rowarchar; 17th century Riarchar]

Entries in brackets are from a list of all the old names of Dornoch parish posted by Christine Stokes on SCT-SUTHERLAND-L Archives on on November 2, 2001.

Here is a map showing the location of Rearquhar in relation to the town Dornoch and Skibo Castle.

On September 22, 1275, ownership of half a davoch of land in Achosnich and one davoch at Rutheverthar (Rearquhar), among other lands, was confirmed in perpetuity in William, Earl of Sutherland. Document 4/15/10 (Bannatyne Misc., no. 2) on People of Medieval Scotland 1093–1314. See: Two Ancient Records of the Bishopric of Caithness from the Charter-Room at Dunrobin contributed by the Duke of Sutherland to the Miscellany of the Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh 1848, page 16, on the website of Forgotten Books.

The Grants had a small farm in Achosnich, about a mile east of Achvaich. Google maps shows Achosnich, Highland, IV25, UK to be 0.9 miles east of Achvaich, Highland, UK, an 18 minute walk, Google maps shows Achosnich to be 5.8 miles northwest of the town of Dornoch on an unnamed road running along the northeast side of the River Evelix northwest through Rearquhar. Both Achosnich and Achvaich lie on the north side of the River Evelix. The street view of Achosnich, taken in 2011, shows a farm house and sheds and the rising land to the north, where Alt Loch Lannsaidh crosses he road before it flows into the River Evelix from the northeast. This is probably the Grant farm. The description of the residence of the Grants as being in Achvaich in 1861 census of Scotland indicates that the farm may have been to the west of Achosnich, nearer the Strath Ach' a' Bhathaich through which the Achvaich Burn flows from the north into the River Evelix; or somewhere to the south of the hut circle at Achvaich Burn as marked by Canmore Mapping. There is a street view of Achvaich on Google maps that shows three sheds in treeless rolling country. The terrain view shows a relatively narrow band of flat land along the north side of the Evelix River, with rising terRain to the north, which contains both Achosnich and Achvaich lie. On google maps, it is possible to take a virtual drive from Achosnich to Achvaich, and there is today no significant farm house on the road between the two places.

On the Roy Military Survey of Scotland 1747–55, the only settlement shown along the north side of the Evlagg (now Evelix) River, as it flows to the southeast out of L: Laggan, between Achvaich and Riarachar, is designated Achalishen, which seems to be the location of modern day Achosnich. The river bends to the southwest at the settlement of Evlagg before it flows into the Bay of Skeebo where it joins Meickle Firth (now Dornoch Firth).

The New Statistical Account of Scotland, No IV, containing part of the county of Sutherland and part of the County of Berwick, with map, published in November, 1834, is a free Google eBook, and contains, on page 1, as its first chapter Parish of Dornoch. Presbytery of Dornoch, Synod of Sutherland and Caithness, by The Rev. Angus Kennedy, Minister. Here are a few quotes:

There are two valleys, or, more properly speaking, straths, in this parish : the one, Strath Cairnaig, formed by the river Cairnaig. This valley stretches south from Torboll for the space of some miles. The other, Strath Achvaich, is near the source of the river Evlix, and is of no great extent. (page 2)

In this parish there are the rivers Carnaig and Evlix. ... The Evlix takes its rise about the head of Strath Achvaich; and, after running about eight or nine miles, with a considerable population on each side of it, and its banks beautifully wooded with natural birch and alders, it empties itself into the Dornoch Frith, not far from the Meickle Ferry. (page 3)

Language, Habits, fyc. of the People. — The vernacular language is still the Gaelic; from which also almost all the names of places are manifestly derived. (page 7)

Besides the principal farms which have been stated above, there are a great many lots, or small holdings, ranking from two to five or six acres, which are receiving yearly accessions from waste land by the industry of the occupiers ; and though the average rent of improved waste land be stated at 5s. per acre, it is a well- known fact, that many of these cottars pay only a rent of Is. each, some 2s., and so on, in a gradual scale, — an increase of rent not being so much the object of the noble proprietors, as the improvement of the soil, and the comfort of their numerous tenantry; in which liberal objects they have succeeded. (page 9)

Fuel. — Coals imported from Newcastle have been used here by the better classes in town and country, for the last twenty years at least. They are purchased at Dornoch, at from Is. 10d. to 2s. per barrel, and carried home in carts. Peats are still used by the common people. (page 16)

The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer if Scotland, Volume First, A—H, Glasgow 1842, another free Google eBook, says in the article on the parish of Dornoch: (page 323)

The small river Evlix or Evelicks, which rises in Strath Achvaich, and falls into the frith near the Meikle-ferry, after a course of 9 miles, affords a few salmon and trout. In the hilly district there are three or four small lakes, the largest of which is about a mile in length.

The book also contains an entry on the Royal Burgh of Dornoch at page 323. This article points out that the cost of a new and fine church in the center of town "was solely defrayed by the Duchess-countess of Sutherland."

An Instrument of Possession and Reservation, Achvaich, 1797, is among the legal papers of Elizabeth, Duchess-Countess, #726-731, Inventory. Dep.313. Sutherland Papers, of the National Library of Scotland.

On Dornoch History Links Image Library, #573 is a photograph of the site of Achosnich watermill, with the Achosnich crofthouse on the left. The site of the mill to the on the north side of the Evelix Valley Roadway as shown by a 1989 a sketch of The Site of the Achosnich Water-Mill. #570. A note to the sketch says:

Typical examples of rent are Achosnich, which had a mill, and Gashagich, which was a croft of average size. Achosnich paid 1 pig, 6 bolls, 3 firlats meal as moulter (owed by law to the laird, a proportion of the meal ground at the mill), 100 eggs, 4 cocks, 8 hens, 1 wedder, 1 beast of the laird's wintered, making a cash rent of £10 9/2. Gashagich paid 1 firlat meal, 80 eggs, 2 cocks, 4 hens, 1 wedder and 1 beast wintered, or a cash rent of £2 12/-.

Achosnich (Achushosnich) is described in Place names in Dornoch Parish as Gaelic, cornered field - part of the Rearquhar estate, and is shown on a map as between  Achvaich and Rearquhar to the east, and just north of Clashmore. Achvaich and Rearquhar were 2.1 road miles apart according to Google maps. Achosnich is about half way between them. Google maps shows 6.7 road miles between Achvaich and Dornoch, and 5.0 road miles between Rearquhar and Dornoch. All these places are listed in Scotland's People — Place Names for Dornoch; Rogart. Scottish Gazetteer shows Achosnich as 4 miles northwest of Dornoch and Achvaich as 6 miles northwest of Dornoch.

On October 16, 1741, Captain Hugh McKay was made tacksman of Rearquhar, Astle and Achosnich.

This land was held direct from the Earl of Sutherland and in return Hugh paid cash, some produce from the land, and he was obliged to raise a troop of soldiers if the Earl needed it. Like the previous tacksman, John Sutherland and his wife Christian, Hugh would sublet the land. Subtenants lived and farmed together in groups of five or six with their families. Their clusters of houses and storehouses with a corn-drying kiln were known as clachans, or bailtean. Today the ruins of neighbouring clachans are visible, but the only evidence on the ground for those at Hugh’s are the stone-built outlines of the mill at Mill Hill between Astle and Achosnich, and an isolated longhouse downhill from Achosnich farm. This land was held direct from the Earl of Sutherland and in return Hugh paid cash, some produce from the land, and he was obliged to raise a troop of soldiers if the Earl needed it. Like the previous tacksman, John Sutherland and his wife Christian, Hugh would sublet the land. Subtenants lived and farmed together in groups of five or six with their families. Their clusters of houses and storehouses with a corn-drying kiln were known as clachans, or bailtean. Today the ruins of neighbouring clachans are visible, but the only evidence on the ground for those at Hugh’s are the stone-built outlines of the mill at Mill Hill between Astle and Achosnich, and an isolated longhouse downhill from Achosnich farm. This land was held direct from the Earl of Sutherland and in return Hugh paid cash, some produce from the land, and he was obliged to raise a troop of soldiers if the Earl needed it. Like the previous tacksman, John Sutherland and his wife Christian, Hugh would sublet the land. Subtenants lived and farmed together in groups of five or six with their families. Their clusters of houses and storehouses with a corn-drying kiln were known as clachans, or bailtean. Today the ruins of neighbouring clachans are visible, but the only evidence on the ground for those at Hugh’s are the stone-built outlines of the mill at Mill Hill between Astle and Achosnich, and an isolated longhouse downhill from Achosnich farm. The clachan, the Creek and the Captain, posted on February 5, 2013, on historylinksdornoch.

Pictures of Rearquhar offers 37 photographs by Sarah McGuire and Derek Brown of the area, including the River Evelix meandering through crofting community, a croft by the River Evelix, and crofting community children near Achosnich. Profile for Derek Brown on geography lists many more of his photographs in the parish of Dornoch. A bridge over tributary of River Evelix (NH7194) shows the Burn of Achvaich just before it enters the River Evelix. Achosnich Farmhouse (NH7293) may shows the Grant croft, as may Moorland near Achosnich (NH7294). See also The Road to Achvaich for another photograph of Achosnich — and two more..

The Free Presbyterian Magazine and Monthly Record of May, 1912, reports, at page 26, the death of Mr. David Ross of Dornoch at the age of 95:

WE record with deep regret this month the death on 15th April of Mr. David Ross, one of the elders in our congregation at Dornoch, Sutherlandshire. ...

On his return from Glasgow to his native parish, Mr. Ross resided for many years at Achosnich with his uncle, the late Mr. John Grant, who also attained to the patriarchal age of 95 years. For half a century after the Disruption of 1843 he was a faithful member of the Dornoch Free Church, where for many years he was a ruling elder. ...

David Ross, was baptized on January 18, 1817, in Dornoch. His father was Hugh Ross and his mother Marron Grant. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 on; FHL Film Number 905691. (A Marrion Grant was born in Kildonan, Sutherland, Scotland on February 16, 1792, to Francis Grant and Kathrine Macbeath.  Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564–1950, on; FHL film number 990563. Hugh Ross and Marron Grant were married on April 3, 1816, in Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland. Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561–1910 on; FHL film number 990561.) (A Hugh Ross was baptized in Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland, on June 23, 1788. His parents were Hugh Ross and Anne Ross. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564–1950, on; FHL film number 990561. For a Hugh Ross born in September of 1804 in Achosnich to John Ross, a miller and crofter, and his wife, Jean (Jane) Murray, see the posting of Christine Stokes of February 21, 2002, on SCT-Sutherland-L Archives on John Ross and Jean Murray were married in Dornoch on December 29, 1795. Several of their ten children were born at Achosnich or Rearquhar. See Field Family Tree on]

A valuable source is A Family History website for all those with ancestors from County Sutherland, Scotland. Postings describing Grant families are here. See also Families of Dornoch.

Sutherland County Censuses

The 1841 census of Scotland (as reported by lists John Grant, age 42, born in Sutherland county, Scotland, in the civil parish of Dornoch, address Fluchary (should be Fleuchary), an agricultural laborer, in a household with Christy Ross, age 17.

The 1851 census of Scotland (as reported by lists at Achvenich (Achavaich in the 1861 census, and Achosnich in the 1871 census), Sutherland county (Dornoch parish), Scotland, John Grant, age 51, born in Dornoch, Sutherland county, Scotland, a flesher, with his wife, Frances Grant, age 34, John Grant, age 21, William Grant, age 1, David Ross, age 31, and Issabel Murray, age 12. The 1861 census of the same place lists John Grant, age 61, a farmer of 10 acres; Francis (sic) Grant 44; John Grant, age 13; William Grant. age 11; Jane Grant, age 9; James Grant, age 5; Ann Grant, age 3; David Boss (Ross?), age 44; Bell Sutherland, age 28; and George Campbell, age 14. The 1871 census of the same place lists John Grant, age 71, farmer of 39 acres, 9 arable; Frances Grant, age 52; John Grant age 22; William Grant, age 20; Jane Grant, age 18; James Grant, age 15; Annie Grant, age 13 (The surnames of the children are misspelled in's report of the 1871 census as Maut.) The 1881 census of the same place lists John Grant, age 82, farmer of 3? acres, 12 arable; Frances M. Grant, age 68; William Grant, age 30; James Grant, age 25; Annie Grant, age 23; and Donald Logan, age 13.

Other sources describe the home of John Grant as Achosnich. The obituary of James Anderson. Achosnich, Dornoch, who died on February 6, 2007, reads in part:

 In 1958 he married Ella Matheson, daughter of Hugh and Chrissie Matheson, Rearquhar, another local family well-known for several generations. They made their home in the hill farm of Achosnich, which had been in his mothers side of the family since his great-great-grandfather was settled there after having been removed from Lower Evelix at the Clearances. That was John Grant, the originator of John Grant and Sons, Dornoch.

The Gazetteer for Scotland says that Achosnich lies 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Dornoch in the valley of the River Evelix, and that the Strath of Achvaich lies 6 miles 10 km) northwest of Dornoch where it meets the valley of the River Evelix after only 2 miles (3 m). The Scottish Gaic for Achvaich is Achadh a' Bhathaic. The Strath of Achvaich through which runs the Burn of Achviach, appears on maps used on Canmore, Scotland's national collection of buildings, archaeology and industry, as Srath Ach' a' Bhatchaidh. See for example, the entry in Canmore for Allt Snaipeag.

Here is a photograph of the River Evelix below Achosnich and a photograph of crofting land near River Evelix. below Achosnich.

Grants of Dornoch Put Up for Sale

An article in the The Northern Times of June 22, 2011, describes the offer of Grants of Dornoch for sale, reports:

Grants of Dornoch goes on market

Long established family business Grant’s of Dornoch has gone on the market.

The firm has a long history dating back to 1825 when it was founded by John Grant who delivered meat by cart from Achosnich in Birichen to Dornoch.

It has since been run by successive generations of Grants and has seen many changes.

In the early 1900s the business re-located to the distinctive corner building it still occupies in the town’s Cathedral Square.

And in 1976 Donald Grant and his cousin and partner, Glen Grant, expanded it from a butcher’s shop to the current store. ...

Here is an excerpt from a magazine article (circa 1970) giving a short history of the butcher firm Grants of Dornoch:

Grants of Dornoch — A Highland Heritage

Tracing its line directly back to an 18th-Century crofting family, this firm is today a major supplier of prime Aberdeen Angus beef to hotels and homes in Britain and abroad. ...

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many Highlanders were encouraged to leave, or were evicted from their homes and their land. Many went abroad to American, to Nova Scotia and further afield carrying with them the living and underlying memory of their hills and straths*. ...

A few of the Highlanders stayed at home, and among them was the family of the first John Grant. They were fortunate because the strath in which they lived was the only strath in the County of Sutherland from which there were no evictions. John Grants and his family stayed on in their Highland croft, 7 miles from the tiny country Town and Royal Burgh of Dornoch — a few acres of arable land lay between the croft-house and the river which swept down in spate from the hills after the winter snows had melted. It was a hard life by hard working folk. There were a few crops to be harvested and a few cattle and sheep upon the hills, but it was no easy way to make a living and raise a family.

In the past, drovers had visited each croft and driven the beasts in herds or droves to the far off cattle trysts at Mair of Or, Grieff and Falkirk. John Grant had been one of them. There were no road or bridges; at rivers and across estuaries , the cattle swam to the other side. ...

"The purchase of a pony and trap enabled the grants to sell some of their meat locally to neighboring crofters in the parish and beyond. Finally, they opened a small retail shop in Dornoch, trading as "John Grant" — the first stage of development of Grants of Dornoch had begun, with John's records still to be seen, going back to 1842, which were written for him by his brother William, a school teacher for the district. ....

The firm today continues to be run by direct descendants of the old eighteenth century family of crofters, which sets its sights and opportunities far distant from their own river and hills. ...

*A strath is a broad mountain valley.

The magazine article, with a 1908 photo of the shop and 1970 (or thereabouts) photos of the Grant family, is on the website of Dornoch History Links Image Library, #133 and #478. Other pictures on this site I found interesting are #4249, the earliest available account book of John Grant & Sons, Cathedral Square, Dornoch; #10105, photograph of John Grant & Sons shop on St. Gilbert Street, Dornoch, c. 2003; and #10691, the obituary of Bob Grant.

John Grant married Jessie Sutherland in Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland, on February 18, 1874. Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910. FHL film number 6035516. Their first daughter, Frances Grant, was born in Dornoch on November 1, 1874. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950. FHL film number 6035516.

The 1881 Census of Dornoch, Sutherland county, Scotland (as reported by lists John Grant, age 32, born in Dornoch, butcher; Jessie Grant, age 30; Francis Grant (should be Frances), age 6; Innes Grant, age 4; John Grant, age 2; and Davina Sutherland, age 17. The 1891 census of the same place lists John Grant, age 42; Jessie Grant, age 40; Frances Grant, age 16; Innes Grant, age 14; John Grant, age 12; Charles Grant, age 9; Williamina Grant, age 6; Robert Grant, age 2; and Catherine Douglas, age 22. The 1901 Oceanus of the same place lists John Grant, age 52; butcher; Jessie Grant, age 49; Francis (sic) M. Grant, age 23; Charles Grant, age 19; Williamina Grant, age 15; Robert Grant, age 11; Jessie Grant, age 7.

Mystery of the Haggis

The website of the Grants of Speyside on the best of the highlands explains the mystery of the haggis:

Have you heard the tales of the Haggis from the hills? Apparently one in five people have, and believe that Haggis is a mysterious creature which roams the hillside which is caught in traps in time for Burns Night. We can confirm that Haggis really does come from the Highlands of Scotland….a creature? We’re not so sure! Haggis is made from what is known as lamb offal, this is lamb heart and lungs. It is mixed with oatmeal, onions and seasoning to form a delicious meal which is then stuffed into an Ox casing or synthetic skin ready for heating. Remember, our recipe is a secret and that’s why it’s the best Haggis in the land! We’re away now to hunt a few more of these wee beasties!

In 1786 Robert Burns (1759–1796) composed his Address to a Haggis — "Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race!" Here is an idiomatic translation and here is a recitation by Kenneth Brown on a YouTube dramatization by Lionel McClelland, with English subtitles. At a traditional Burns supper, the main course is a haggis on a large dish that is usually brought to the host's table while a piper plays the bagpipes. Among key ingredients of a proper haggis are sheep lungs. In 1971, US Department of Agriculture ruled that livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food,. Since the, authentic haggis has not been leally available in the United States — to the dismay of sponsors of Burns suppers. See: US urged to lift its decades-old haggis import ban and open up market worth millions to Scottish producers in MailOnline of June 29, 2014; The USDA Doesn’t Want Us to Eat Lungs; and UK government bids to overturn US haggis ban on BBC News Scotland Business.

Recipes for a Haggis

"A haggis is just a sheep’s stomach stuffed with meat and oatmeal." The meat includes oatmeal and sheep’s pluck, i.e. the animals heart, liver, and lungs. See: Haggis Myths on Haggis Hunt. For a recipe that is almost two centuries old, see: Meg Dods’ Haggis (1833) A sheep's stomach, a strong needle, and white thread are required. As the pluck is cooked, the recipe suggests: "Allow the windpipe to drape over the side of the pan, and place a smaller vessel underneath it to catch the foam that will drip out of it as the pluck heats and cooks."

Here is a recipe for a "champion Haggis" from a Glasgow Cookery Book from around 1926 from Haggis Hunt. It is important that the sheep's stomach be empty when the mixture is used to fill it, and that the air be pressed out before it is sewn up. The stomach should be washed thoroughly with cold water and then soaked in cold salted water for 8 to 10 hours before it is filled. The published copy of the recipe includes this note: "Ignore people who tell you to put a rock in with your simmering Haggis then throw out the beast and eat the rock — they are Phillistines with no sense for the finer things in life."

For a step by step picture guide (21 photographs) showing the steps preparing a Haggis, see: How to make your own haggis, which uses an ox bung (large intestine) for a casing rather than the traditional Scottish sheep's stomach. Tim Hayward of The Guardian, the author, admits that "like many Englishmen, my understanding of haggis is limited" and "I've never been to a Burns Night dinner." He points out in The haggis challenge:

Haggis was traditionally packed into the sheep's fourth stomach or rumen. These are difficult to obtain from English butchers as anything with the slightest possibility of 'fecal contamination' requires special cleaning and there's tragically not enough demand down here. The best alternative, ox bung, is available from specialist sausage suppliers and comprises the last yard or so of the large intestine of a cow cleaned and salted. ...

On YouTube, see: How to make a traditional Scottish Haggis - Part One and Part Two and Part Three. The lessons also use an ox bung (called a stomach lining) rather than a sheep's stomach as a casing. Part Three emphasizes the need to continually pierce the casing with a darning needle as the haggis boils in order to prevent an explosion. Cutting up the haggis or going near a microwave would be a sacrilege, but the ox bungs are simply tied up with string rather than sewn. For entertainment, bagpipes accompany trout fishing and a haggis hunt in The Art of Haggis, which features an explanation of a sheep's pluck and coriander as a secret seasoning. Ox lungs are used as a casing.

Vegetarian haggis is available. See: Bizarre Food! by Gavan Murphy. So-called Traditional Haggis in tins is now available from Grants. See the first photograph on Haggis packaging.

Geographical Origin of the Grants of County Sutherland

Here is a quotation from Golspie: contributions to its folklore by Annie and Bella Cumming, Jane Stuart, Willie W. Munro, Andrew Gunn, Henri F. MacLean, and Minni Sutherland (when pupils of Golspie School), London 1897, in a subsection called Apparent geographical origin of the present population, page 291:

Grant is a clan specially connected with Strathspey, in the shires of Elgin, Banff, and Inverness. Dr. Joass suggests that the prevalence of the name in Golspie may be due to the fact that in the last century a Sir James Grant occasionally lived in Sutherland as the acting curator of the Countess- Duchess of Sutherland during her minority.

The author also suggests, at page 292, that the Grants in the area of Dornoch and Golspie probably moved there from the opposite side of the Moray Firth. An historical connection between the Grants of Strathspey and Strathnaver is the joint service in Flanders of two regiments of foot beginning in 1708:

GRANT, ALEXANDER (1679-1720), laird of Grant, brigadier-general, constable of Edinburgh Castle, eldest surviving son of Ludovick Grant [q.v.], laird of that ilk, was born in 1679. After studying civil law on the continent he entered the military service, presumably in the regiment of foot raised and for a time maintained by his father. Conjointly with his father he represented Inverness-shire in the Scottish parliament of 1703–7, and was one of the commissioners appointed to arrange the union.

Marlborough, writing on 7 Feb. 1707, would ' be much pleased to gratify the laird of Grant in respect of the employment of his regiment whenever her majesty's service shall admit of it ' (Marlb. Desp. iii. 312), but the regiment was not taken on the British establishment until 24 Dec. 1707 (Abstracts of Muster Rolls, Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 19023). After the heavy losses at Oudenarde in July 1708, orders, dated 17 Oct. 1708, were sent to Lord Strathnaver's and Colonel Grant's regiments of foot to march from North Britain to Newcastle- on-Tyne for immediate embarkation. The former numbered 450 and the latter 500 men. They suffered much from desertion on the march ( Treas. Papers, cix. 40).

These regiments were sent to Ostend to increase the force at Marlborough's disposal for the sieges of Bruges and Ghent (Hist.MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. 33 b, 35 b). Grant's regiment, for he appears to have been colonel at this time, served in Flanders during the subsequent campaigns, but there are no details of it until 4 May 1711, when Grant memorialised for a sum of 932/. to replace 232 men of his regiment drafted into General Hill's expedition against Quebec (Treas. Papers, cxxxv. 8). Soon after Grant, the lieutenant-colonel of his regiment, and some other officers, were taken prisoners, most likely on their passage home, and were carried to Calais, where they were eventually exchanged (Marlb. Desp. v. 142, 145, 170, 176).

When the Duke of Argyll, who is said to have been a personal friend of Grant, was dismissed in 1711, Grant was deprived of his regiment for a time, but restored to it on the accession of George I. ...

Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 22 (Glover — Gravet) (1885), edited by Sir Leslie Stephen, page 374. (I have broken the article into shorter paragraphs.) See also: Grant, Alexander (1679–1720) (DNB00) on Wikisource.

See also: History of the Campaign in Flanders in the Year 1709 — Faithfully Collected by an Officer in the English Forces, London 1710. For a historical context, see: Chapter XX. The War of the Spanish Succession and the Treaties of Utrecht, 1702–1715 on

Here is part of the chapter on John, Fifteenth Earl of Sutherland, from the The Sutherland Book, volume 1, memoirs, by Sir William Fraser, Edinburgh 1892. (For links to all 3 volumes, go to A Bibliography of the Works of Sir William Fraser (1816-1898),)

Because of a threatened Jacobite invasion in 1715, John, 15th Earl of Sunderland, was appointed lord-lieutenant of the six northern counties. including Moray and Sutherland.

[H]is neighbour in Banff and Inverness was Brigadier Alexander Grant. These and other appointments were published in the Gazette of 19th August 1715. The earl also received on the 25th of the same month instructions as lord-lieutenant to embody the fencible men of the shires into regiments, etc., with orders to assemble them immediately in case of rebellion or invasion. A few days later James Stanhope, secretary of state, wrote intimating his majesty's pleasure that the earl should repair with all possible expedition to the shires of which he was lord-lieutenant to carry out his instructions. Sutherland Book I, page 330.

William, Lord of Strathnaver, was the eldest son of John, the 15th Earl of Sutherland.

In March 1703, his father having succeeded to the earldom of Sutherland, William, Master of Strathnaver, acquired the courtesy title of Lord Strathnaver, by which designation he continued to be known till his death. He was, on 5th August 1704, appointed a commissioner of supply for the shire of Sutherland. Four months previous to this date he entered the army, and, although only then twenty years of age, commanded a regiment. This regiment, however, was afterwards much reduced by a draught made from it, to recruit others, probably for Marlborough's campaigns. ...

The regiment of Lord Strathnaver, along with that of Colonel Alexander Grant, was then ordered to Newcastle, and arrived there about the middle of October 1708. But we learn from a treasury minute, and other sources, that the men were intended for foreign service, though this was kept a secret, to prevent desertions. They were sent to the Netherlands, where the Duke of Marlborough was then directing the war against France, but Lord Strathnaver was not permitted to accompany his regiment, which was placed under the command of Colonel Grant. This is noted in a letter of the period: "Grants and Strathnavers regiments have orders to embark for Holland immediatelie. The last is to stay, and Grant commands both regiments." Sutherland Book I, pages 369-371

William. Lord Strathnaver, may have developed too great a fondness for Scotch whisky or ale. In 1716, a letter from Lord Lovat to William's father, the earl, said:

I wish with my soul that my dear Lord Stranaver may give over his drinking in some mesure, otherwayes he canot live, and it were a thousand thousand pityes for a man of honor and good sense; and I am sure his lordship is as dear to me as my own only brother. Sutherland Book I, page 379.

Lord Strathnaver died on July 13, 1720, at the age of 32.

There were 34 Grants in the register of Kildonan Parish in the period 1795 to 1815. The Highland Clearances on

Dornoch People 1822 is a list of all persons (males) above 16 years of age residing within the Parish of Dornoch, excluding servants. The most common name is MacKay. Here are the Grants:

Alex., pensioner, Dornoch; Alex., fisher, Embo Fishertown & sons Alex., John & Donald; Alex., farmer, Fleuchary Park; Andrew, shoemaker, Dornoch; Colin, farmer, Skibo; Donald, cook, Dornoch & son Joseph; Donald, smith, Embo Achtresalich; Hector, shoemaker, Dornoch; James, farmer, Rearcher; James, farmer, Drimdavan; John, labourer, Dornoch; John, farmer, Evelicks Moor; John, farmer, Evelicks & son John; John, farmer, Skibo; Robert, labourer, Evelicks; Mr Thomas, Sheriff Substitute, Dornoch; Wm., tailor, Evelicks & son John. 


Grants of Dornoch—Grants of Speyside—Haggis and Black Pudding
Updated August 5, 2014  
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