Described by Erik Routley as the first and most obvious successor to Charles Wesley as a hymn-writer, he was born on 2 September 1903 at Roby, Merseyside, the son of a Liverpool leather merchant. He was educated at Rydal School, where an English and History teacher, A.G. Watt, awoke a love of poetry in him. A sermon on Masefield's The Everlasting Mercy inspired him to offer for the ministryand he was trained at Didsbury College. His circuits included Ilford, Finsbury Park and the Dome Mission, Brighton. He was Chairman of the York and Hull District 1957-1964.
To mark Methodist Union in 1932, the MMS commissioned him to write an account of Methodist overseas missions, Methodism and the Mountain Summit.
Friendship with a gentle agnostic poet Fallon Webb encouraged him to develop his poetic gifts and to question the accepted truths of orthodoxy. The kindling of his latent skills as an author in the 1940s led to three volumes of poetry, This Unlikely Earth (1952), The Skating Parson (1965) and The Old Couple (1976). He also wrote plays, including Farley Goes Out (1928). Towards the end of his active ministry his talent as a hymn writer led him to serve on the working party set up to produce Hymns and Songs (1969), a supplement to the 1933 *Methodist Hymn Book. His prolific retirement bore fruit in two collections of Hymns and Ballads (1982 and 1989). He was co-editor of the 1979 Partners in Praise. 27 of his hymns are included in Hymns and Psalms and 23 in Singing the Faith. He also contributed to other collections, such as the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal.
He was honoured by the Hymn Societies of Great Britain and Ireland and of America and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Emory University, Atlanta in 1982. He was made an MBE in 1994 for his services to hymn-writing. His last ten years were spent at Cromwell House, theMHA home in Norwich, where he died on 22 October 2000. A memorial service was held at Wesley's Chapel, London on 9 June 2001.
Royalties, especially from hymns published in American hymn books, enabled him in 1984, to set up the Pratt Green Trust, which supports projects in church music and hymnody; in particular, the Pratt Green Hymnody Collection at the University of Durham and the HymnQuest CD-ROM.