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Goodman, Cardelllocked

(b. 1653)
  • J. Milling

Goodman, Cardell (b. 1653), actor, was born in October or November 1653 in Southampton, the son of Cardell Goodman (1608–1654), rector of Freshwater, Isle of Wight, and his wife, Katherine. He was educated at Thomas Wyborrow's school, Cambridge, where his mother moved after her husband's death. In 1671 he took his degree from St John's College, Cambridge, although he later claimed to have been sent down for defacing the portrait of the duke of Monmouth. Goodman decamped to London; there he visited family friend Robert Hooke, who probably introduced him into London society. He met Thomas Killigrew, manager of the King's Company, and apprenticed himself as a hired man in 1673, at the princely sum of 10s. a week. His first recorded appearance was as Mariamne in a novices' production of Thomas Duffet's blacked-up, cross-dressed burlesque of Elkanah Settle's play of the same name, The Empress of Morocco. This is the only record of a role between 1673 and March 1677, although he was sworn in as a liveried servant of the King's Company on 8 June 1676.

Goodman's financial situation was dire during this period; he had to borrow 20s. from Robert Hooke on 20 November 1674, and Cibber's account of Goodman's reminiscences suggests that he and Philip Griffin, a fellow hireling, 'were confined by their moderate Sallaries to the Oeconomy of lying together in the same Bed and having but one whole Shirt between them' (Wilson, 35; Cibber, 2.316). Many of the King's Company were finding it difficult to maintain a debt-free existence and Goodman's £3 debt to Thomas Kite 'for money lent' in January 1677 was modest. But on 20 March 1677 he was in more serious trouble with John Lane of Hart Street for 'a mare hyred and spoyled by Goodman worth above six pounds', for which the lord chamberlain ordered him to pay £5 at the rate of 4s. a week, while he was acting. Luckily Goodman was performing that spring, playing the braggart Captain Mullineux in John Leanerd's The Country Innocence, the boastful conspirator Polyperchon in Nathaniel Lee's The Rival Queens, the plotting Plautino in Edward Ravenscroft's Scaramouch, and at last a leading role as the romantic, passionate Antellus in William Chamberlayne's Wits Led by the Nose, while the leading players were not performing because of a dispute with manager Charles Killigrew.

We have more record of Goodman's roles in the 1677–8 season, none of them very elevated parts: Ethelwold in Ravenscroft's King Edgar and Alfreda, Alexas the scheming eunuch in Dryden's All for Love, the lustful, blustering Pharnaces in Lee's Mithridates, and the debauched Hylas in D'Urfey's Trick for Trick. Goodman's dissolute roles on stage seem to be echoed by his off-stage skirmishes with the law at this time. On 4 April 1678 a warrant to 'Apprehend & take into Custody Cardell Goodman, one of his Mats Comoedians for certain abuses & misdemeanours by him committed' was issued. In the following year he and Sarah Young, alias Goodman, were sued for £12 16s. and for £28 debts they had incurred. More luridly, on 18 April 1681 Goodman was pardoned for an earlier highway robbery, which does not appear to have been an isolated incident. His connections at court seem to have preserved him, because he is still listed as a King's player during the period.

When the troubled King's Company had closed for almost a year in March 1679, Goodman teamed up with Thomas Clark and John Gray to run a company in Edinburgh for a season. In July 1680 he was wooed back to the King's Company by Charles and Henry Killigrew, as a shareholder. Unfortunately we have no record of whether this improved his position within the company and opened up leading roles to him in the first season. By mid-October 1681 he was given an epilogue, with Betty Cox, to Lee's important Mithridates, and he played the larger roles of Townly in D'Urfey's Sir Barnaby Whigg, the duped, but noble Seliman in Thomas Southerne's The Loyal Brother, and the heroic, tortured Altomar in Settle's The Heir of Morocco. The uniting of the companies threatened his access to leading roles, Cibber suggests, and returned Goodman to a £2 a week hireling. Indeed, in the early years of the United Company he played the undemanding title role in Julius Caesar, and supporting roles as Annibal in Lee's Constantine the Great, Vernish in Wycherley's The Plain Dealer, and in February 1686 Peregrine Bertie saw him in an unnamed role in Mithridates. However, it may be that with the United Company he acted Alexander in Lee's The Rival Queens in the 1685 production, and possibly again in October 1686 at court. Goodman was undoubtedly noted in this part, as a letter from Dryden reveals (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans, BDA). A later commentator, Charles Gildon, in his Life of Mr Thomas Betterton (1710), approved of Goodman's acting 'in the Madness of Alexander the Great in Lee's Play, Mr. Goodman always went through it with all the Force the Part requir'd, and yet made not half the Noise, as some who succeeded him' (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans, BDA). It seems, from the few roles we are able to identify him in, that this kind of noisy, passionate part was his forte.

Patchy records account for some of the lacunae in Goodman's career with the United Company, but Davies's account of him offers an alternative view:

Goodman, long before his death, was so happy in his finances, that he acted only occasionally, perhaps when his noble mistress wished to see him in a principal character; for Goodman used to say ‘he would not act Alexander the Great but when he was certain that the Duchess would be in the boxes to see him perform.’

Highfill, Burnim & Langhans, BDA

The noble mistress who facilitated such a reversal in his fortunes was the powerful former mistress of Charles II, Barbara Palmer, duchess of Cleveland (bap. 1640, d. 1709), with whom Goodman had taken up some time before 1684.

The duchess's three sons—particularly Henry, duke of Grafton—were unimpressed by their mother's liaison with Goodman and arranged for him to be arrested for highway robbery and committed to Newgate in summer 1684. This was not Goodman's first sojourn in custody; he had been briefly held in the Porter's Lodge, Whitehall, in April 1678, and narrowly escaped a sentence for his 1681 highway robbery charge. However, on 2 September the grand jury found for Goodman, allegedly after £100 changed witnesses' testimony, and he was released. This was not the end of Goodman's troubles, as on 20 October he was re-arrested and taken to Newgate. This time the charge was that he had hired mountebank Alexander Amadei to poison the duke of Grafton and his brother, the duke of Northumberland. On this more ludicrous charge Goodman was found guilty and, unable to pay an unfeasible £1000 fine, was sent to the Marshalsea. However, Charles II on his sickbed, perhaps under pressure from the duchess of Cleveland, relented, and on 16 January 1685 remitted the fine. The duchess finally persuaded James II to pardon Goodman fully on 22 October 1685.

Goodman's notoriety certainly grew from his off-stage exploits far more than from his acting. His affair with Cleveland was mocked for decades, as Robert Gould in the revised The Playhouse, a Satyr suggests:

Goodman himself, an Infidel prefess'd,With plays reads Cl—d nightly to her Rest.

However, in the 1690s it seems that Goodman took up with a Mrs Wilson from the Pope's Head tavern, Cornhill, according to Delariviere Manley's Rivella. Although satirized by tory Manley, Goodman was a Jacobite sympathizer and in 1694 he became embroiled in a conspiracy to kidnap William III. On 3 July 1695 he narrowly escaped a conviction for treason, for celebrating Prince James's birthday (10 June) at the Dog tavern with other Jacobites. By 15 February 1696 the plot had grown into an assassination attempt on King William, coupled with an invasion by James from France. The plot failed and Goodman was captured and committed to Newgate. Because he was privy to only some of the scheme he was not executed immediately, but was persuaded by Archbishop Tenison, among others, to testify against the principal conspirators, particularly Sir John Fenwick. He was bailed and it was probably during this period that he met Colley Cibber and recounted stories from his life. However, before Goodman could give evidence the Jacobites offered him £500 cash and a pension of £500 for life if he would leave the country. He took the money and on 29 October 1696 left for France. In France he seems to have been imprisoned for a while, but was soon received at the exiled court of James at St Germain. The French were not sure what to make of these conspirators, and Lord Ailesbury's Memoirs report that in 1713 Goodman was in Montélimar, supported by a pension of £87 10s. a year but obliged to remain in that area. There is no record of Goodman's death, but it is likely that he died in exile, some time after 1713.


  • W. Van Lennep, ed., The London stage, 1660–1800, pt 1: 1660–1700 (1965)
  • J. H. Wilson, Mr Goodman: the player (1964)
  • C. Cibber, An apology for the life of Mr. Colley Cibber, new edn, ed. R. W. Lowe, 2 vols. (1889)


  • engraving (as Mariamne), repro. in T. Duffet, The empress of Morocco: a farce (1674), frontispiece
P. H. Highfill, K. A. Burnim, & E. A. Langhans, , 16 vols. (1973–93)
J. Venn & J. A. Venn, , 2 pts in 10 vols. (1922–54); repr. in 2 vols. (1974–8)