He was born on 16 June 1901 at Bridlington. He trained at Leeds as a teacher and taught for ten years before becoming a journalist and prolific writer whose books were widely read and treasured. In 1932 he became one of Arthur Mee's collaborators on the 'King's England' series and was a regular contributor to the Children's Newspaper. From 1939 to 1973 he compiled the annual 'Friendship Books' under the pen-name of Francis Gay and he wrote as the 'Friendly Man' in the Methodist Recorder. Best-sellers like Nodding Wold (1940), in which his wife Mary featured as 'Judith', were characterized by his humour, gaiety and a buoyant optimism. His latest title was the highlight in the Epworth Press's year and his appearance with Leslie F. Church at 'Book-Lovers' Meetings' during Conference drew record crowds. Royalties from his Easter at Epworth (1944) went to Epworth Memorial Church's endowment fund. He died at Bishopthorpe, York on 19 March 1977 and was buried at Bridlington.