WM local preacher and circuit steward, born in Manchester, he was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He became a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Staffordshire and was Liberal MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme 1865-1886. He was opposed to raising the educational requirements for local preachers. He published Revivalism (1868), The Present Position of Wesleyan Methodism (1871) and The Itinerant System Considered in Reference to the Future of Wesleyan Methodism and the Forward Movement (1892). He was one of the British Wesleyan representatives to the first Ecumenical Methodist Conference in 1881.
He first visited New Zealand in 1885 and in 1892 settled at Piako in the Waikato region of North Island, where he established an extensive farming operation. Of independent means and a Liberal in politics, he failed to enter Parliament in 1890 and again in 1893, but later became a member of the Piako County Council.He was an active local preacher, intensely interested in evangelism. He supported the spread of Methodist work by local preachers in his employment and was involved in the short-lived re-establishment of Prince Albert College for ministerial training in 1895. The Conference Lecture of 1893 by C.H. Garland on the authority of the Bible aroused considerable public debate, to which Allen contributed on the conservative evangelical side. On his return to Britain he was involved in the controversy sparked by George Jackson's 1912 Fernley Lecture and he took a leading part in the formation of the Wesley Bible Union. He died on 15 January 1915.