The Bucks Free Press,
High Wycombe
Friday October 17, 1930


Death of High Wycombe Veteran.


High Wycombe has lost, by the death, on Friday, of Mr. Richard Goodearl, J.P., aged 87, a distinguished citizen. He was a former Mayor of the town of his adoption, was engaged in the staple industry, was a Justice of the Peace of the Borough, and for about seventy years was a Wesleyan local preacher.

Mr. Goodearl was a son of the late Mr. William Goodearl, who founded the firm of chair manufacturers now known as Goodearl Bros., Ltd., of Mendy Street, High Wycombe. After establishment of the firm the father and seven sons worked as chair makers, and as the business gradually developed, there became branches -- Messrs. Henry Goodearl and Sons; Benjamin Goodearl and Sons; and Alfred Goodearl and Sons (Bolton).

Since Mr. Richard Goodearl's retirement 27 years ago, the present firm of Messrs. Goodearl Bros., Ltd., has been controlled by his son, Mr. A. T. Goodearl, and at the present time it has a world-wide reputation for high-class and original furniture.

Mr. Goodearl's illness had been of short duration; he seemed as active as ever up to within a few days of his death, which was attributed to senile decay.

He was born on September, 6th, 1843. He was thrice married, and he now leaves a widow, three sons, and six daughters. One son is in Australia where until recently he had two sons residing, the other having passed away after a recent journey home.


Mr. Goodearl's activities were many. He first successfully sought to represent the western ward of the High Wycombe Town Council. He became an Alderman, and in 1894-5 he was honoured with the Mayoralty of the Borough, succeeding the Rev. T. C. Baines (a distinguished churchman) and being followed by Mr. John Busby, J.P., another representative of Wesleyan Methodism.

He was third oldest representative of the Magisterial Bench, having been appointed a Justice in July 1895. Older members are Mr. Henry Stephens Wheeler (March, 1875), and Mr. J. G. Peace (February, 1893). Of late years Mr. Goodearl had not sat upon the Bench, owing to his increasing deafness.

The extension of the cause of Wesleyan Methodism was one of his deepest interests. Before he had passed his 'teens he preached in the churches of the Wesleyan Methodist circuit. He was particularly interested in the Local Preachers' Mutual Aid Association of which he was a past president and hon. treasurer of the High Wycombe district.

He travelled many miles, preaching sermons in order to raise funds for the assistance of deserving cases of local preachers and widows throughout the united kingdom. Only last Saturday the meetings were held in High Wycombe, when well deserved tributes were paid to the late Mr. Goodearl's untiring energy and zeal.

He served in most Wesleyan Methodist church offices, and was regarded as the oldest local preacher. The cause of temperance, too, claimed his attention and he was also a non-smoker. In many other walks of life he will be greatly missed.


Many relatives and friends, together with representatives of the Magisterial and other bodies with which the deceased had been associated, were present at the funeral which took place at Priory Road Wesleyan Church, High Wycombe, on Tuesday afternoon. An impressive service was conducted by the Rev. J. G. Penman and the Rev. W. L. Barlow Westerdale (the ministers of the circuit).

The organist Mr. W. E. Crook, played suitable music, and the hymn, "Give me the wings of faith to rise," was sung.

The Rev. J. G. Penman said that Mr. Goodearl had been a local preacher for seventy years and had served [two words indistinct here] certainly up to recent weeks, he had kept everyone in order and was full of vigour. Those who knew him best knew he had no patience with anyone who slacked in any what whatever. His memory was cherished, particularly in that church. Many of the churches in the circuit would never have been built had it not been for the zeal of Mr. Goodearl. He loved his church and his generosity was outstanding.

Those who knew only one side of his character might be amazed to know how he would practise sacrifice -- real sacrifice -- in order that he might help the work of God, not only in that church but in others.

Mr. Penman also expressed sympathy with the relatives.

Following the address the hymn, "Peace, perfect Peace," was sung, followed by "The Dead March." The principal mourners were Mrs. R. Goodearl (widow), Mrs. O. T. Barfield, Mrs. A. H. Plowman and Mrs. E. H. Dean (daughters) and their husbands, Mr. A. T. Goodearl and Mr. P. R. Goodearl (sons), and Mrs. A. T. Goodearl, Mrs. Pratley (sister) and Mr. Pratley, Mr. B. Goodearl (brother), Rev. S. W. Lipscombe (Transvaal, grandson). and many nieces and nephews.

Members of the High Wycombe Borough Magisterial Bench were represented by the Mayor (Mr. W. H. Healey, J.P.), Mr. P. J. Rutland (who was appointed in March 1898), Alderman O. Haines, Councillor John Gibson, Mr. F. J. Hull and Mr. E. White. Others present included Mr. H. Barfield, Councillor G. E. Stevens, Dr. J. T. Bell, Mr. R. Nancarrow (Great Missenden), Mr. Rogers (Post Office, Bledlow Ridge), Mrs. Plumridge (Post Office, Lane End), Mr. Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Cook (Lane End), Mr. W. H. Markham, Mr. Webb (representing local preachers), Mr. S. R. H. Edge, M.A. (Flackwell Heath, circuit steward), Mr. J. Woodbridge (Bourne End Wesleyan Church), Mrs. W. A. Stevens, Mr. & Mrs. Eaves (Banbury) and Mrs. Jonathan Plumridge.

Mr. A. E. Barnes, Miss Heather, Mr. Frank Coles and Mr. A. Small represented the staff and employees of Messrs. Goodearl Brothers, many of whom were present to pay their last tribute to a just employer.

Many beautiful wreaths were received from his widow, children and relatives, from the High Wycombe Wesleyan Methodist Local Preachers' Mutual Aid Association, the local preachers of the High Wycombe Circuit, members of Wesleyan Church, Prestwood; London Road Wesleyan Sunday School; London Road Wesleyan mixed senior Bible Class; the staff and employees of Messrs. Goodearl Bros., Ltd., and Bridge Street Saw Mills and Timber Co.

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Thanks are due to Mr David Goodearl, Sydney, Australia for this item