Morris was born in Worcester, England in 1877. When he was 3 years old his family moved to 16, James Street, Oxford. Upon leaving school at the age of fifteen Morris was apprenticed to a local bicycle seller and repairer. Nine months later, aged 16, he set up a business repairing bicycles from the family home. The business being a success he opened a shop at 48, High Street and began manufacturing as well as repairing bicycles. In 1901 he began to work with motorcycles, designing the Morris Motor Cycle, and in 1902 acquired a garage in Longwall Street from which he sold, repaired and hired cars.
In 1912 he designed a car, the Bull Nosed Morris and began manufacturing at a disused military training college in Cowley. The outbreak of World War I saw the nascent car factory given over to the production of munitions but in 1910 car production recommenced rising from 400 cars in that year to 56,000 in 1925. During the period 1919-1925 Morris built or purchased factories at Abingdon, Birmingham, and Swindon to add to that in Oxford. Morris pioneered the introduction to the United Kingdom of Henry Ford's techniques of mass production.
The first Morris Minor was sold in 1929.
Morris was married to Elizabeth Anstey on 9 April 1904 - there were no children, and as a result he dispersed a large part of his fortune to charitable causes. Morris founded the Nuffield Foundation in 1943 with an endowment of £10 million in order to advance education and social welfare. Morris also founded Nuffield College, Oxford.