A Leeds barber and peruke maker, he was converted by three Marys - Mary Maude, his wife (née Musgrave) and Mary Whedale - all three being converts of John Nelson. His Briggate shop became the first home of the Leeds society. Nelson first preached there just after Christmas 1742 and Charles Wesley the following May. As leader of the Leeds society and local preacher, he is recorded in 1755 as being a half-itinerant in the Yorkshire Circuit. He subsequently 'fell into sin and was publicly expelled from the society', the cause being business failure and drink. Following a moving letter from John Wesley in 1779, recalling how Shent had stood by him when stones were flying on every side, he was restored to membership, though drink continued to be a problem.