Bentley Shaw was born at around 10am on 16 January 1816, the son of local brewer William Shaw and his wife Ann (née Bentley). Ann's father was Timothy Bentley who had established the brewery in 1795 at Lockwood, making use of Horse Bank Spring to provide water.
On 16 June 1842 he married Jane Elizabeth Lancaster (c.1818-1893), daughter of local auctioneer John Lancaster, and they had at least nine children together.
Shaw lived at Woodfield House, near Lockwood, and became a partner in the Lockwood Brewery, more commonly known as Bentley and Shaw, around 1841. In 1843, he purchased the brewery outright at an auction arranged by the executors of Timothy Bentley's estate.
Around the mid-1840s, he became a Freemason and for 11 years was the Deputy-Grand Master of the Province of the West Riding.
In 1857 he was appointed as a local magistrate for Huddersfield and Holmfirth.
By 1870, the Bentley and Shaw brewery had expanded to cover 12 acres of land and was using so much water from Horse Bank Spring that little was left over for the local population. A bitter dispute over the spring continued until Lockwood began receiving water via a mains supply. The former brewery, much of which was demolished in the 1970s, is now the home of the Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club.
He died 20 March 1878, aged 62, and was buried at Emmanuel Church on 23 March 1878.