Cumberland Sauce

December 6 2011

My Mother’s account of her conversation with the disgruntled custodian of the deserted royal palace at Hanover, when she visited it during her stay in Germany in A.D. 1885, made me realize, even as a child, that all was not well under the surface in Prussia-Germany.

We are told no more about this conversation. The palace was deserted because Prussia had annexed Hanover in 1866. The Kingdom of Hanover became the Prussian province of Hanover.

From 1708 to 1803, Hanover had been an Electorate, technically the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, informally the Electorate of Hanover. The first Elector, George, as Queen Anne’s closest Protestant relative, became King of Great Britain in 1714.

Hanover’s Napoleonic history: 1803-13.

In 1813, after the Napoleonic Wars, George III was restored to his Hanoverian territories. In October 1814 they were erected into a Kingdom of Hanover at the Congress of Vienna. The Congress demanded a territorial exchange between Hanover and Prussia in which Hanover increased its area substantially. The personal union with the United Kingdom ended in 1837, with the accession of Queen Victoria, because the Salic Law in Hanover prevented a female from inheriting the title if there was any surviving male heir. William IV’s brother Ernst August became the Hanoverian king.

In the United Kingdom, a male took precedence only over his own sisters. The new Act of Settlement being discussed in 2011 will end even that precedence if it is passed. If the Salic Law had applied in England in 1837, we would have had a King Ernest. He died a few weeks after the close of the Great Exhibition.

Queen Victoria was, nevertheless, a Hanoverian. Her successor, Edward VII, was not: he belonged to the line of his father, Prince Albert, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Ernst August had been created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh in 1799. His grandson the 3rd Duke and Earl, the son of the last King of Hanover, George (or Georg) V, had the great Hanoverian (not originally English) delicacy, Cumberland Sauce, named after him, but was deprived of his British peerages for having sided with Germany during the First World War.

The Schloss zu Herrenhausen circa 1890-1905, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. It was destroyed during the Second World War.

The Schleswig-Holstein Question (old post).

A Study of History, Vol X, OUP, 1954

One Response to “Cumberland Sauce”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    “Cumberland sauce is served cold as an accompaniment to hot or cold gammon, tongue, and cold goose or game, and it goes well with a slice of raised game pie. It is meant to have a thinnish consistency.


    1 medium lemon
    1 medium orange
    4 heaped tablespoons good-quality redcurrant jelly
    4 tablespoons port
    1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder
    1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger


    First, thinly pare off the zest of both the lemon and the orange, using a potato peeler, then cut them into very small strips ½ inch (1 cm) long and as thin as possible. Boil them in water for 5 minutes to extract any bitterness, then drain well.

    Now place the redcurrant jelly in a saucepan with the port and melt, whisking them together over a low heat for about 5 or 10 minutes. The redcurrant jelly won’t melt completely, so it’s best to sieve it afterwards to get rid of any obstinate little globules. In a serving bowl, mix the mustard and ginger with the juice of half the lemon until smooth, then add the juice of the whole orange, the port and redcurrant mixture, and finally the strips of lemon and orange zest. Mix well and the sauce is ready to use. Cumberland sauce stores well in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.” edited

    The key is to make your own redcurrant jelly. And many would say that it is not necessary to do any heating.

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