Born on 9 October 1709, the son of a Manchester bookseller, he went to Brasenose College, Oxford in 1726, met John Wesley in 1732 and became associated with the 'Holy Club'. At his suggestion they began observing the stationary fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays. Returning to Manchester in 1733, he was appointed perpetual curate of Sacred Trinity, Salford and, in 1740, chaplain at the Collegiate Church. He was a close friend of the non-jurors John Byrom and Dr Thomas Deacon and had a number of pupils from Jacobite families in his academy in Salford. His Jacobite sympathies led to his temporary suspension by the bishop of Chester in 1745. John Wesley visited him both before and after his Georgia venture, but Clayton distanced himself from the Wesleys after their evangelical conversion. John heard him read prayers in 1752 and Charles heard him preach in 1756, but without any renewal of their friendship. He died at Salford on 25 September 1773.