He was born at York, and was educated at York and Halifax grammar schools and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow on taking his degree. He was ordained in 1592, and held the office of university lecturer in logic till in 1598 he obtained the living of Long Marston, Yorkshire. He gained a considerable reputation as a Protestant controversialist, and published numerous works against Roman Catholicism, chief among them being the Apologia catholica (1605) and A Catholicke Appeale (1609).
He held successively the deaneries of Gloucester (1606), Winchester (1609), and a canonry at York (1610). In 1616 he became Bishop of Chester, in 1618 Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and in 1632 Bishop of Durham. On the abolition of the episcopate in 1646 he was assigned a pension, but it was never paid, and the remainder of his life was passed in retirement.