WM minister, born on 5 October 1851 at Wigton, Cumberland, and trained at Didsbury College. His wife was the younger daughter of Dr J.H. Rigg, whose life he wrote. As Connexional Editor 1905-1934 he edited and published the 'Standard Edition' of John Wesley's letters and a new edition of the Lives of the Early Methodist Preachers (under the title Wesley's Veterans). Among his other publications were popular lives of John Wesley (1886) and Charles Wesley (revised edition, 1900) and he gave the Fernley Lecture in 1908 on Man's Partnership with Divine Providence. He succeeded John S. Simon as President of the Wesley Historical Society in 1933. He died at Newcastle upon Tyne on 25 July 1936.
In his will £30,000 was left to the Methodist Church for ministerial training. After a legal dispute the High Court laid down the specific purposes of the 'Telford Bequest', with an emphasis on assistance to students and a bias towards study in Oxford or Cambridge. The bequest is now administered as part of the wider provision by the Methodist Church for such purposes.