The following article was originally adapted from text kindly provided by Dr James "Jimmy" Whittaker, November 2017, but was updated by Will Swales November 2018:
The Last Huntsman of the Royal Buckhounds:
A gravestone St. Saviours’ Cemetery bears the inscription “In Loving Memory of Frank Goodall, The last huntsman of the Royal Buckhounds”.
Who was Frank Goodall?
So, who was Frank Goodall and what became of the Royal Buckhounds?
We must distinguish between two Frank Goodalls - uncle and nephew - both of whom were former huntsmen to the Royal Buckhounds!
The Goodall family:
The headstone in St Saviour's churchyard is for Frank Goodall the younger.
Frank was descended from a long line of huntsmen, starting with his great-grandfather, Stephen Goodall, who was a well-respected huntsman. Stephen’s grandson, William (or Will as he was better known) was a whipper-in with the Belvoir hounds before he became huntsman. (A whipper-in is someone who assists the huntsman during a hunt for foxes and other quarry. The whippers-in are responsible for helping the huntsman to keep the hounds organized and focused while out in the field, and they may also help to care for the hounds in the kennels, depending on the organizational structure of the hunt in question.)
After his marriage to Frances Wellbourne, they moved into a house at the Belvoir Kennels, raising 11 children.
Tragedy struck the Goodall family in 1858 when Will died of a fatal fall when his horse got its foot stuck in a rabbit hole.
By the time of his death, Will, also known as Will-o-Belvoir, had become famous for his natural way with the hounds. His widow was only 40 when Will died, and was left with eight boys and three girls to care for. Without any pension or other form of income, life and times for the Goodall family must have been difficult.
In the heyday of hunting, there were many wealthy patrons who subscribed to a memorial fund and some patrons even offered to educate individual sons of some of their most revered huntsmen. The Goodall family were duly fortunate: The Duke of Rutland offered them accommodation in an unused hunting lodge on the Croxton Park Estate in Cambridgeshire.
Frank Goodall senior, 1831-1906:
Frank (Francis) Goodall senior (the uncle) was born in Bucknell, Oxfordshire in 1831.
In the 1871 census Frank Goodall senior, the uncle, was living at Billesdon, Leicestershire, employed as a huntsman, and living with his wife Marianne, aged 28, and three sons. His age was recorded as 34 but in fact he was 39.
Frank Goodall senior was appointed The Queen's Huntsman in 1872:
Following the death of Henry King, the Royal Huntsman, in 1871, Frank Goodall was appointed The Queen’s Huntsman in 1872 and remained in office until his resignation in 1888 following a hunting accident. He died in 1906.
Upon Frank’s retirement, the post of The Queen’s Huntsman including a much cherished hunting horn was passed onto his successor, John Harvey.
(The Royal Huntsman was basically in charge of the hounds which were used for hunting stags in the Royal Windsor Forest. These packs of hounds belonged to the monarch of the day so during Frank’s time the packs belonged to Queen Victoria.)
An article in The Staghound written by Lawdon Briggs Bridges in 1897 contains some interesting stories concerning Frank Goodall senior including the one told here in connection with Her Majesty’s buckhound, Rummager.
Some years earlier, Frank Goodall senior, while then The Royal Huntsman, was seriously injured in the hunting field, and as assistance was rendered as he lay insensible on the ground, Rummager was by his master’s side and for a long time would allow no one to approach him. On the story being related to Her Majesty, it was ordered that poor old Rummager should become a pensioner, have extra quarters and comfort bestowed on him, and so live out his natural life. His progeny remain in the kennels at Ascot, among the pillars of the present pack.
Frank Goodall junior, 1854-1921:
Frank Goodall junior was born on the Grantham registration district of Lincolnshire in 1854.
In the census of 1861, Frank James Goodall, then aged 7, is found living at Croxton with his mother Frances and some of his brothers and sisters, namely William, Charles, Frederick, Machin and sisters Frances and Ann. All these children were born in Belvoir.
Frank’s elder brother Will who would become known as Young Will, followed in his father’s footsteps in the hunting world, becoming a whipper-in at Belvoir, and then moved on to the Pytchley Hunt.
As a young man Frank Goodall junior went to work in Ireland. He didn’t return from Ireland until 1900. He was the Royal Huntsman from 1900-01, and was famous for being the last Royal Huntsman at the time that the Royal Buckhounds was disbanded.
His sponsors were probably Lords Coalville and Cork whom he had met years earlier while working with hounds in Ireland. (see below) .
In 1901 Frank is living in Sunninghill near Ascot with his wife Amy and three of their children: Amy, b. 1884, Stephen, b. 1893 and Frank Jnr, b.1893. His three children were born in Ireland. Their daughter Amy was born in Nugentstown and the two boys were born in Jigginstown.
Tony Roberts emailed (Mar 2018) to add: "I have recently acquired Frank Goodall [junior's] Royal Buckhounds hunt livery coat (see Photo Gallery). The coat will form part of a hunting museum which exhibits at several game and country fairs around the country."
Frank Goodall comes to Hungerford to run The Three Swans Hotel:
So, the final bit of the jigsaw of Frank Goodall’s life is his relationship to Hungerford.
We are not sure of the reason for his move but in 1913, when Francis Waldron Church retired, 61-year-old Frank Goodall junior took over the running of The Three Swans Hotel. He had been a farmer from Binfield, near Bracknell in Berkshire, who famously had been the last Royal Huntsman for Queen Victoria’s Royal Buckhounds.
He came from an esteemed family of huntsmen. His uncle, also called Frank Goodall, had been the Royal Huntsman from 1872 to 1888. The younger Frank spent most of his career employed by hunts in Ireland, and he retired there in 1899, aged 47, to focus on farming and auctioneering. However, such was his reputation that in 1900, when the master of the Royal Buckhounds in Berkshire needed a new huntsman, Frank Goodall was persuaded out of retirement to follow his famous uncle into the most prestigious job in the hunting world.
Early in January 1901, only three months into his first season, there was a tragedy for him and his wife Amy when their eldest daughter, Constance, died of typhoid, in Ireland, aged 19. Before Frank could return to work, the hunt season was brought to an abrupt end with the death on 22 Jan 1901 of Queen Victoria. The new king, Edward VII, favoured fox hunting over stag hunting, and so in August 1901, before the next season could begin, the Royal Buckhounds were disbanded. Shortly afterwards Frank Goodall found himself featured in the press nationwide when it was revealed that the king had personally handed him a cheque for an astonishing £1,000 as compensation for his loss of office. (Thanks to Will Swales for this research).
In June 1917 Frank and Amy's elder son Stephen Goodall was ‘instantly killed in action in France on June 14, aged 24’. They had now lost two of their children as young adults.
Frank and Amy Goodall died in 1921 within three months of each other. Frank died in late February 1921, aged 68, and Amy died at the end of May, aged 69.
1921 (Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser 4 Jun 1921) ‘…the death of Mrs Goodall, widow of Frank Goodall, who was for so many years huntsman to the Kildare and Meath Hounds, and afterwards to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The sad event took place ... at her residence, the Three Swans Hotel, Hungerford, aged 69 years, after a long illness, following on a stroke three and a half years ago.’
- Frank Goodall junior's memorial stone in St Saviour's Burial Ground, Oct 2017 (sent by Jimmy Whitaker, Nov 2017)
- Frank Goodall junior's portrait on Bailey's Magazine, 1878 (sent by Jimmy Whitaker, Nov 2017)
- The Queen's Buckhounds - portrait of Frank Goodall senior (sent by Jimmy Whitaker, Nov 2017)
- Frank Goodall junior (from www.facebook.com/British-Hunting-Collection-392952917474225)
- Frank Goodall junior's Royal Buckhounds huntsman's coat (sent by Tony Roberts, Mar 2018)