Born in Todmorden, he was brought up in the MNC and was self-educated. Moving to Bolton in 1829, He became actively involved in Sunday School work and from 18431 was a local preacher. His early Liberalism became more conservative in later years. He was a town councillor 1858-1860 and became chairman of the Lancashire Cotton Spinning Co. He helped to set up a local Penny Savings Bank and was actively involved in the Bolton Benevolent Society, the local Freehold Land Society and the mechanics institute. He represented Bolton at the Paris Peace Congress in 1849. The Bolton Guardian, which he launched in 1859, voiced the Liberal opposition to the corn laws and taxes on knowledge and supported franchise reform and the provision of state education. From his becoming a teetotaler in 1835 he became prominent in the temperance movement, editing the British Temperance Advocate from 1848 to 1860.