Born on 24 March 1781, he was educated at Eton College. Although he had an uncle and three brothers in the Church, he became a captain in the army. He was converted in Ireland under Samuel Wood in 1805 and preached his first sermon at Wexford on 1 January 1810. One influence was his friendship with Adam Averell. Soon after Waterloo he left the army and entered the itinerancy, though he continued to be known as 'Captain Hawtrey'. His first appointment, in 1815, was to Budleigh Salterton, where JamesLackington had offered him his chapel on condition that the Anglican prayer book was to be used there. Friendly relations with the local incumbent disposed him towards the established church, but he continued in the itinerancy for the next decade and a half. After one year in Falmouth (then in the Redruth Circuit), where his health was affected by open-air preaching, and two in Canterbury, he was stationed in Paris and Caen in 1819-1821 because of his command of French, and for three years (1825-1828) was Superintendent in the Sherborne Circuit. He also served in the garrison towns of Portsmouth (1824-1825) and Sheerness (1830-1831).
He was then persuaded by his wife to leave the ministry', to give his daughters better educational opportunities. In 1832 he was ordained into the Anglican ministry and served in parishes at Southwark 1835-1838, Guernsey 1838-1850 and as rector of Kingston Seymour, Som., from 1850 until his death in 1853. He was described as 'a gentleman of means and social position' and 'a venerable minister who had attained connexional celebrity'. Edward C. Hawtrey, Provost of Eton College 1852-1862, was his cousin.
'He had been an officer in the army, and had seen sharp service. He retained his military bearing, and had a most imposing presence. A captain who had entered the Methodist ministry a few weeks after Waterloo, and who possessed great oratorical powers, was sure to be immensely popular. His speech at North Walsham was the first display of platform eloquence I had ever witnessed, and it was to me enchantment. In robust and dignified humour, and in pictorial vividness I have never known it surpassed. '
Benjanin Gregory, Autobiographical Recollections (1903) p.48