He was born in London and studied at the University of Oxford, obtaining his D.Mus. there in 1854. In 1849 he was ordained. He was professor of music at Oxford from 1855 to 1889 and founded St. Michael's College in Tenbury Wells.
His works, which are little known today, include church services, oratorios, cantatas, organ works and others. He also wrote a number of instructional treatises on harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition.
Ouseley died in Hereford.