Born at Kettering, the son of the Rev. Francis West (e.m. 1793; d. 1820), he was educated at Woodhouse Grove School. He was President of the 1857 Conference. His time as Governor of Kingswood School 1862-1867 marked the closing chapter of the era of severe discipline, but he was also remembered for introducing music into the curriculum. He retired in 1867 in growing infirmity and died at Great Crosby, north of Liverpool, on 4 April 1869.