He was born in Brighton, England, and educated at Kings College, London and Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating in mathematics in 1854. After studying at Lincoln's Inn he was admitted to the bar in England. In 1860 he emigrated to Auckland, and that year moved to Wellington. He was a Crown solicitor and partner in the law firm that became Bell, Gully; and was on the boards of local schools and local companies e.g. the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company and the Meat Export Company. He retired from the law in 1887 due to failing eyesight.
He had married Miss Mary Ann Hayward from Sussex in 1859 before he emigrated. She died in Wellington on 18 July 1900 aged 71y.