He was born on 23 May 1848 at Mount Fletcher, Kingston, Jamaica, the son of Richard H. Hornabrook (e.m. 1827; d. 1888) a WM missionary. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove School. He served as Secretary of the Chapel Committee, 1897-1932, and as Secretary of the Conference, 1903-1910, being elected President in 1910. His outstanding powers of leadership earned him the reputation of being the 'elder statesman' of the Church. He married a daughter of Luke H. Wiseman. He died on 2 May 1937.
His eldest son John Oliver Hornabrook OBE (1879-1951, e.m. 1903) was born in Southport and trained at Headingley College. He received an OBE for his services as an army chaplain. As Superintendent of the Devonport Mission he built the Central Hall there. He was Conference Journal Secretary for 26 years and as Secretary of the Home Mission Committee was given the responsibilty for realligning the Methodist Districts at Methodist Union in 1932. He died suddenly on 11 December 1951.
John Hornabrook's younger brother, Richard Frazer Hornabrook (1850- ?; e.m. 1874) was born in Jamaica on 11 March 1850, served in South Africa and was President of the South African WM Conference in 1906.