Born in 1927 in Leeds, where she was educated at the Girls High School and read modern languages at the Universary. With a Diploma in Education she began her teaching career at Allerton High School. In 1951 she married the Rev. Harry Batty and they began a four-year ministry in Guyana. Back in Britain they were stationed in Thirsk and then in Reeth in Swaledale from 1961 to 1985, with Margaret continuing her teaching career as well as serving as a local preacher for 65 years. She also wrote several local histories.
Retiring in 1985 to Edinburgh', Margaret developed her interest in Methodist history, which led to a number of valuable publications, beginning with her PhD thesis at London University, Stages in the Development and Control of Wesleyan Lay Leadership 1791-1878 (1988). Her work on the role of local preachers led to Workaday Preachers co-edited with Geoffrey Milburn (1995). In 2010 her full-length Scotland's Methodism was welcomed as a very readable account which filled a long-awaited gap. She published literary portraits of James Hamilton of Dunbar, Vincent Perronet ('the Archbishop of Methodism') and Dr. George Scott, pioneer Missionary to Sweden. She also edited the Journal of the Scottish Wesley Historical Society and was Scottish secretary of the Women's World Day of Prayer.