One of John Wesley's earliest lay preachers, a native of Ryton, Co. Durham, he was baptized on 25 December 1722. He was a leading member of the society formed at Low Spen, near Newcastle, following Wesley's visit there in July 1743. He was a schoolmaster for a short time before becoming an itinerant in 1748. He was Wesley's travelling companion in England, Wales and Scotland (the first Methodist itinerant to venture north of the border). He travelled for a total of forty-seven years. He was one of Wesley's most regular correspondents. Recognising his gifts of preaching and leadership, Wesley appointed him 'Lord President of the North' in 1768. This gave him jurisdiction over the Methodist Societies from Cumberland to Lincolnshire. He presided at the 1780 Conference in Bristol 'in Mr. Wesley's absence' and was one of the veteran preachers named in the Deed of Declaration. Retiring toBolton in 1792, he built a house next to the chapel and continued to preach there and elsewhere. He died at Bolton on 5 March 1802.
'A son of thunder, befoe whom the stout-hearted sinner quailed like a craven. - Multitudes in different parts of the British empire converted under his ministry.' Wesleyan Takings (1840), p.342