We only use the finest quality ingredients at John Gilmour Butchers, and when we do partner with a supplier, we need to ensure that they too offer the highest quality produce.
This is certainly the case with Charles Macleod, where we source our incredible Stornoway Black Pudding. We wanted to feature this lovely business on our blog, and give our customers a bit more information about their impressive history.
This information has been taken with permission from the Charles Macleod website – to learn more visit https://www.charlesmacleod.co.uk/pages/about-us
Protected Geographical Indicator
The Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association was formed in 2006 to assist with the application for “Protected Geographical Indicator” status for our iconic product.
Stornoway Black Pudding has now been given official recognition from the EU – protecting it against unauthorised imitation.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead in announcing that Stornoway Black Pudding has been awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, under the EU's Protected Food Name (PFN) scheme, reminded consumers they get the utmost guarantee that they are buying the genuine, premium product.
Rona MacDonald, Manager of Charles Macleod Ltd, said:
“The Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association are delighted to have achieved recognition through the PGI accreditation for our product.
“It has been a long, hard fought journey and we have been so encouraged by the support that we have received from our loyal staff and customers, the Scottish Government, Defra and our local politicians.
“The feedback we have received from our fan base across the world has been so positive; so many folk hold the iconic Stornoway Black Pudding close to their hearts and so supported our campaign to protect our product from “copycat” manufacturers.
“The Stornoway Black Pudding has been made in the Outer Hebrides for hundreds of years on the crofts and so the emergence of imitation “Stornoway Style” black puddings in the market place proved to be a very real threat to the economic well being of the Stornoway Butchers’ businesses that trade in a national and international market place.
“Our aim has always been to protect the Stornoway brand - it’s a food product that is intrinsically linked back to the Outer Hebrides and we have a duty to safeguard the islands food heritage. We are extremely thankful to all our supporters who have helped us over the last five years.”
In the early 1900s, Murdo MacLeod left the village of Keose on the Isle of Lewis bound for South America to work on a Patagonian sheep farm. An expert judge and buyer of livestock, Murdo's employer, Jose Menendez, held him in high esteem. So much so, that on his return to the Isle of Lewis, Murdo was asked to include Menendez in the name of his first-born child. On setting up home in Ropework Cottage, Stornoway, Murdo and wife, Christina thus became parents to Charles Menendez MacLeod.
Growing up in close proximity to the present day shop, Charles was educated in Achmore and Stornoway before gaining an agricultural degree from Aberdeen University.
After wartime service in North Africa and Europe, Charles set up the butchery business bearing his name at Ropework Park, Stornoway in 1947. Together with wife, Mabel, a nursing sister from Macduff on the east coast of Scotland, they raised a family of two, Iain and Charles, the present proprietors of Charles MacLeod.
After his untimely death in 1967, Charles sen. was interred on Eilean Chalium Chille (St Columba's Isle), part of Crobeag Farm, South Lochs, which he had acquired in 1958.
MacLeod is the most common name in Lewis and therefore, as is the case throughout Gaeldom, patronymics or nicknames are popularly used in place of surnames for ease of identification.
Almost inevitably Charles M MacLeod was renamed and rhymed with Barley - an appellation has naturally passed to his sons, Iain and Charles.
Charlie Macleod worked on farms as a young man and returned home (from wartime service) to start up business as a wholesale and retail butcher in Stornoway in 1947 on the site where the shop still stands. In 1958 he purchased Crobeag Farm, including St. Colm’s Isle, from Roderick Macleod (Ruaraidh Mor), a native of Balallan. The stock and equipment included in the sale lists a new boat valued at £50, 78 ewes, 72 sheep and 78 lambs on the Island and 67 ewes, 48 lambs, 2 rams and 4 bullocks in Crobeag. Charlie decided to invest money in regenerating the land and building up the stockholding on both sides of the loch. In the early ‘sixties, a coaster was chartered to bring a cargo of lime up from Glasgow and that policy of expansion and regeneration remains a driving force within the company.
During the Second World War, Mabel MacCallum, a native of Macduff, Banffshire, came to work as a nurse at the Lewis Hospital, Stornoway. She met and married Charles Macleod shortly afterwards and in time they had two sons, Iain and Charles.
In the late ‘fifties and early ‘sixties, Charlie worked hard at building up the quality of stock on St. Colm’s Isle, engaging local labour and became a well-known and highly respected figure in the community. His affection for St. Colm’s Isle and its early association with the establishment of the Christian Church touched him deeply and he was always conscious of the legacy passed into his keeping, enshrined in the old burial ground and crumbling walls of the ancient monastery. On a high point overlooking ‘Caolas’ that separates St. Colms Isle from Crobeag, an area of consecrated ground was set aside with the consent of the Scottish Office and when Charlie died in 1967, at the early age of fifty-two, his remains were laid to rest there.
His widow, Mabel, and their two sons took over control of the business he had set up. The boys were sent off to agricultural colleges and returned to play leading roles in the development of the firm – Iain specialising in the retail and wholesale butchery side, while Charles Junior concentrated on managing the farm. During the Integrated Development Programme in the 1980’s further investment was made in improvement and expansion creating a first class farming environment living in complete harmony with the surrounding crofting community and delivering a high quality product for sale over the company’s counter.
(Excerpt from article donated with kind permission of the Pairc Historical Society)
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