Nothing is known for certain of his family background or his early life. He was vicar of Shalfleet, Isle of Wight, and chaplain to John Ponet, Bishop of Winchester. According to John Strype he was at first chaplain to Princess Elizabeth, who about 1548 or 1549 procured him a license to preach from Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, the Lord Protector, recommending him in a letter to William Cecil.
When Archbishop George Dowdall, who was opposed to the Protestant Reformation, retired from Armagh in 1552, Thomas Cranmer recommended Goodacre to Edward VI for the vacant see as 'a wise and well learned man,' and he was appointed by a letter under the privy seal dated 28 October 1552. On 2 February 1553 he was consecrated in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. He died in Dublin on 1 May of the same year. John Bale voiced a suspicion that he had been poisoned by certain Roman Catholic priests whom he had tried to reform. Strype says he was famed for his preaching; none of his writings were published.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Goodacre, Hugh". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Strype, John Memorials of Thomas Cranmer, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury Oxford University Press 1840
- Sir James Ware Bishops of Ireland Dublin 1739