Description: Men requesting haggis for their 'last meal' will be pardoned.
Origin: Scottish Jacobite Custom
Prince Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart (31 December 1720 - 31 January 1788) commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was a Jacobite claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. After a cruel defeat at the hands of the Duke of Cumberland at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746, Charlie fled for his life. With the help of Flora MacDonald he made his way across Scotland, sailed in a tiny boat to the Isle of Skye and then on to France.
In the aftermath of this battle many men were imprisoned and put to death for treason. However, the clan chiefs made it clear to the prison guards that any man requesting Haggis and Whisky as a last meal must be helped to escape. By doing so they hoped to avoid executing Charlie - whose whereabouts was unknown - for it was known that a royal Scot would only accept a final meal of haggis. Even when it was clear that Charlie had safely escaped the custom continued and in 1791 it passed into Scottish Law.
The law was kept secret, otherwise all condemned prisoners would request haggis as their final meal. The last man to receive a pardon in this way was Jock McStrapp of Aberdeen. In 1922 he was found guilty of killing his wife and mother-in-law by dropping sheep on their heads. However, the night before he was
due to be hung, he requested 'a big plate of haggis mon, way loads of tumshies. And gies a huge gless o' whisky too.' The following day Jock received a royal pardon and was released. He went on to kill eight other people before accidentally electrocuting himself with an electric toothbrush.
The Skye Boat Song
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.
Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.
Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead in Culloden's field.
Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.
A Scottish haggis climbing on Ben
A Scottish haggis in captivity
Note: These superstitions
were researched and written by Stuart Macfarlane (Website:
and Tom Metcalfe (Website:
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