Born on 21 November 1777 in Bolton, his career as a hand-loom weaver was cut short by an accident and he took up landscape gardening in the Preston area. He was largely self-taught in the sciences and became well known through his interest in and lectures on astronomy. His lectures were illustrated by the orrery he had designed and made. From 1837 he was a keen and respected member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
A lifelong Wesleyan who also attended the services in his parish church, he was also a local preacher whose exceptional gifs pioneered Methodism in the Fylde. He was known for his Lancashire dialect stories and in 1834 was given the Freedom of the Ancient Borough of Preston.. He died at Preston on 14 June 1864.