He was born in Liverpool of Welsh descent on 18 May 1903. He read History at University College, Bangor and won the Gladstone Prize for a study of John Wesley's influence on social and political life (which, under the influence of S.E. Keeble, became one of his main interests). He trained for the ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge and in 1929 became President's Assistant at Handsworth College during the presidential year of W.F. Lofthouse. In his early ministry he was sent to open central halls at Yiewsley (1927), Dagenham (1930) and Gateshead (1933) at the height of the depression. In 1936 he was stationed at the Albert Hall, Manchester, but spent the war years at the Bristol Mission. In 1945 he became Secretary of the Temperance and Social Welfare Department, but then returned to circuit work as Superintendent of the Birmingham Central Mission 1948-56. He was Chairman of the Cardiff and Swansea District 1957-1971 and President of the Conference in 1961. His preaching combined scholarship with passionate Welsh eloquence.
His extensive writings on Methodist history and biography include a notable trilogy on Methodism's social and political influence: John Wesley and the eighteenth Century (1933), After Wesley" (1791-1849) (1935) and Methodism and England" (1850-1932) (1943). He gave the 1947 Beckly Lecture, published as One Increasing Purpose and during a world tour in 1956-1957 gave the Cato Lecture in Melbourne. His WHS Lecture (1942) was on Dr Adam Clarke and he was President of the Society 1963-74 and of the International Methodist Historical Society 1966-71. In retirement he was Warden of the New Room, Bristol from 1972 until his death on 14 October 1974. His wife Eleanor (1909-2009) was the daughter of John A. Broadbelt.