Studied at College School, Huddersfield. Privately. Organist of Armitage Bridge Church. Master of Arts.
From 1854 to 1861 he was an organist at Street Paul"s Church in his native town and, as successor to John Stainer, in 1872 at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he remained for ten years. From 1882 he held the post of organist of Saint George"s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He became Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University in 1908, taking over from Hubert Parry.
He became one of the foremost organ teachers of his day, with many important posts in Britain being filled by his students.
He was president of the Royal College of Organists. Parratt was also a distinguished chess player, and was able to simultaneously play chess and a complex organ piece—at first sight.
He served for a few months as president of the Oxford University Chess Club and for two years was captain of the eight chosen to play against Cambridge. Armitage Bridge Church, 1852-1854 Saint Paul"s Church, Huddersfield, 1854-1861 private organist to the Earl of Dudley, Witley Court, 1861-1868 organist of Wigan Parish Church, 1868-1872 Magdalen College, Oxford, 1872-1882 Saint George"s Chapel, Windsor Castle 1882-1924.
Spouse 1864, Emma,daughter of L. Gledhill, Huddersfield.