Born at Whittington, Derbys, the son of a Nottinghamshire yeoman, he was apprenticed in 1804 to a firm of Manchester cotton-spinners. He later went into partnership with his brother-in-law, Joseph Brotherton. A founding member of the Salford Bible Christian chapel in 1809, he was a generous benefactor of the BC denomination, but was described as 'caring vastly more for practical Christianity, than for subtle theological points, or for eccesiastical forms of government'. Politically a Liberal and a friend of Cobbett, he was present at Peterloo and was a supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League. He was a Salford alderman 1844-1870 and twice mayor of Salford, 1857 and 1858, and was a JP. A vegetarian and temperance advocate and a teetotaller for 61 years, he was a founder of the United Kingdom Alliance and chairman of its executive committee 1853-1870. He was also vice-president of the Anti-Tobacco Society.