Born at Stockport and brought up an Anglican, he attended Stockport Sunday School, and in 1861 became a local preacher in the Stockport MNC Circuit. Later, on moving to Bedford, he joined the PMs. Between the ages of 8 and 24 he worked in a cotton mill, at the time of the crisis in the Lancashire industry caused by the American Civil War. He then joined the Prudential Assurance Company, had rapid promotion, and in 1891 moved to Glasgow as manager for Scotland. A Liberal in politics, he succeeded Lord Tweedsmouth as President of the Scottish Liberal Association, served as a country councillor and was an active temperance worker. Much of the advance of PM in Scotland, where a dozen new churches, built in the 20 years up to his death, was indebted to his encouragement and support. He was twice Chairman of the District Synod, and in 1904 was Vice-President of the PM Conference. He was knighted in 1911 and died on 8 April 1916.