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Born at Disley in Cheshire, he had interests in coal-mining, particularly in the Haughton and Hyde areas of Greater Manchester, as well as lime burning and mineral extraction interests. He owned land at Disley, Manchester and Heaton Norris and he lived at Ardwick Green, Manchester.
He is best known as the resident engineer for the construction of the Peak Forest Canal and the Peak Forest Tramway and in 1793 he made the initial survey of their routes. Following the resignation of Benjamin Outram in 1801 he was appointed as consulting engineer for the completion of the Marple canal locks. He was also the surveyor for the Ashton Canal and the resident engineer for the construction of the Macclesfield Canal.
By 1841 he was living in Allerton Place at 16 Ardwick Green. He died here on 30 January 1850, aged 78 years.