He was the son of Benjamin Haworth of Haworth Hall. He was educated by tutors and steered towards a career in law, but had little interest in the profession and after inheriting the estate of his parents, devoted all his time to natural history.
He was the author of Lepidoptera Britannica (1803–1828), the most authoritative work on British butterflies and moths until Henry Tibbats Stainton's Manual in 1857. He was also a carcinologist, specialising in shrimp. He is responsible for the names of several taxa, including: