The leading figure in the Independent Methodist Connexion in the late nineteenth century, he was born in Warrington, but spent most of his life in Bolton. He was President of the Connexion on four occasions, edited the IM Magazine 1869-96 and wrote A Free Church and a Free Ministry (1883). He formulated much of the administration of the Connexion, prepared its Model Deed, established the Evangelistic Department on a formal basis and introduced the Ministers' Assistance Fund. He was the prime mover of the Ministers' Education Course which established ministerial training on a connexional basis. Under his influence the denomination finally settled on the name of Independent Methodist, ending almost a century in which churches had retained various local names.