Born at Leeds; the son of a tradesman. He received his early education at Eastbury's Quaker School. He contributed verses to the newspapers and wrote some satirical pamphlets about the notables of his native town. He lived for a while at Doncaster, then Edinburgh, finally taking up his residence in London. He composed several hundred songs between 1830 and 1865, some of them being the most popular of their time: Ever of thee; I cannot mind my wheel, Mother; Thou art gone from my gaze; and others. He also did literary work of various kinds. His Musical Cynics of London, 1862, was a satirical attack upon H. F. Chorley and others, and did him more harm than good. The Modern Hudibras appeared two years later. He died at Kensington and was buried at Kensal Green. He composed the operas, Francesca Doria; La Poupee de Nuremberg; The Toymaker; and Law Versus Love. He collected and arranged songs under the titles, Scottish Melodies; Songs of the Camp; Original Hymn Tunes; and others. Among his latest works were two books of Nursery Rhymes.