- By Norman Fine
The highest praise that can be given to a huntsman is for a fool to say, ‘We had a great run and killed our fox; as for the huntsman, he might have been in bed!” –Lord Henry Bentinck
This week we look at another legendary huntsman of the past, William Goodall, huntsman in the nineteenth century to the Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir foxhounds (UK).
Goodall’s methods greatly impressed Lord Henry Bentinck, one of the leading MFHs of the day. Captain Simon Clarke, MFH of the New Forest foxhounds (UK) tells us that Lord Henry hunted three horses a day, kept copious notes, compared the best of England’s huntsmen, and thought William Goodall to be the premier huntsman in England.
When in 1864 Lord Henry sold his famous hound pack, he wrote a letter to the purchaser, Mr. Henry Chaplin, describing William Goodall’s hunting methods. The information in the letter so impressed Mr. Chaplin that, some years after Lord Henry’s death, he had it published under the title, The Late Lord Henry Bentinck on Foxhounds: Goodall’s Practice.
"Goodall’s Practice,” says Captain Clarke, “is the best treatise on hunting hounds ever written.” The revered Master and hound breeder Isaac “Ikey” Bell, the single individual most responsible for the modern English foxhound, is said to have had Goodall’s Practice painted on the ceiling over his bathtub. If you watch while hunting this season, you may see and recognize some of these same practices being used by your own huntsman. Here’s an extract.