Born in Driffield, the son of a PM minister, George Lee (1851-1919; e.m. 1872), he was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, then became lecturer in Education at University College, Aberystwyth (1903-8). On the recommendation of A.S. Peake, he was appointed tutor at Hartley College, Manchester (1908-47), also lecturing in the Philosophy and Psychology of Religion at Manchester University. He was a man of wide-ranging knowledge and penetrating thought, coupled with a sensitivity which won the affection of his students. True to the PM tradition, he was accustomed to take his turn in presiding at the college Communion services. Following Methodist Union in 1932 the Principal, William L. Wardle, responding to a questioner, replied that he would not dream of applying for a dispensation for him to do what he was already doing.
He gave the Hartley Lecture in 1927 on Sociality: the Art of Living Together, contributed a chapter on religious experience to Methodism in the Modern World (1929). At the Methodist Church Congress in 1931 he spoke on 'Man's Instinct for God'. He also published Groundwork of the Philosophy of Religion (1946).