A prominent MNC layman, he was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and brought up an Anglican. He made his fortune as a rope manufacturer in Manchester, retired to Ashton in 1810 and built a substantial home, Croft House. He had come under Methodist influence at 28 and identified with the MNC on its establishment, influencing its polity and financial structure. He became its financial adviser and the architect of its funds for the care of disabled ministers and their widows and for the education and support of ministers' children. He suffered disablement through a riding accident, but throughout his life proved a wise counsellor and a good friend to the Connexion.
His two younger brothers, William and John (1765-1824), both cotton spinners, were also members of Stamford Street chapel in Ashton and strong supporters of the MNC.