Will Goodall was born in Amersham in 1817, he was the eldest grandson of Stephen Goodall. At the age of twenty-one years old he became the Whipper-in to the Belvoir. He proved to be a very popular man, his kind nature and his likeable character gained him many friends.
Four years later, (and for the next eighteen seasons), he became huntsman of one of the most celebrated packs of Foxhounds in Great Britain. He was a great man for correspondence, writing many letters to fellow huntsmen and also keenly kept a diary full of notes from his various days hunting. Showing great compassion in the way in which he disciplined his hounds, he believed that the best method to control and gain their respect was to treat them all as individuals.
In the early part of his career he married Frances Welborn, between them they had eleven children, eight sons and three daughters.
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On 6th April, 1859, he fell from his horse whilst out hunting. This fall was to later prove fatal. He usually carried his hunting horn close to his chest, as his horse rolled over him the horn compressed into his chest thus causing extreme pressure damage. He managed to rise to his feet and despite being in some degree of pain, returned home. He seemed to improve for a short time, he even made plans for the oncoming summer when his boys would return from school, however, fate took a different path. His health began to fail and his life ended in the early hours of 1st May, 1859. He spent his last days being visited by friends and it is said he remained lucid and was able to speak with his family until the end.
On the day of his funeral, as the hearse began to pull away, his hounds began to wail in a most uncanny manner. He would have been greatly missed by all who knew him, as he was respected for not only being a great Huntsman but also for his wonderful character. People with such strong personalities are seldom completely forgotten.
His body lies in the churchyard of Knipton in Leicestershire. He is buried with his beloved wife Frances who outlived him by many years.
Will Goodall was my great great grandfather. A few years ago I had the privilege to visit the kennels at Belvoir. This was kindly arranged by James Barclay. I felt extremely honoured to be shown around the very kennels where Will Goodall had spent so many happy hours of his life.