Theologian, prodigious author and social reformer. Born in Campbeltown (Argyll and Bute), the son of another Norman MacLeod (1783 - 1862), MacLeod was brought up in Campsie (East Dunbartonshire). He was educated at the University of Glasgow and completed his studies in Edinburgh under the guidance of Thomas Chalmers (1780 - 1847). He was appointed minister for Loudoun Parish Church (Ayrshire; 1838-43) and then Dalkeith (1843-45). At the troubled times of the Disruption in 1843, MacLeod held to the concept of an established church. In 1847, he was a founder of the Evangelical Alliance. In 1851 he accepted the charge of the Barony Church (Glasgow). MacLeod was horrified by the poverty in this parish and worked hard to improve conditions for the people. He extended the local school, began evening classes for adults, set up a savings bank, a clothing society and 'refreshment rooms' to provide good-value food for his parishioners. He did his best to attract the poorest people into church, but resisted the Glasgow Presbytery when he argued that the people should not spend all of their Sunday in church, it being their only day without work.
A prolific author, his works include The Golden Thread (1861) and Reminiscences of a Highland Parish (1867). He was also the editor of the monthly magazine Good Words between 1860 and 1872. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church in 1869 and visited Canada and India to represent the church.
He was buried at Campsie and such was the respect in which he was held that his funeral attracted almost 3000 mourners. Various memorials were erected in his honour, including two windows in Crathie Church (Deeside) gifted by an admiring Queen Victoria.