Hatch attended King Edward's School, Birmingham, where he studied under James Prince Lee, who later became the Bishop of Manchester; it was during this period of his life that he was first noted for his strong mental independence and extreme study habits, as well as when he joined the Church of England (having been raised a nonconformist). He graduated from Pembroke College at Oxford University in 1857, where he was a dominant figure in the Birmingham Set, after undergraduate studies at Cambridge University. In 1858, Hatch won the Ellerton prize. In 1859, he was ordained as an Anglican priest, and travelled to Toronto, Canada West, where he was professor of classics at Trinity College until 1862. Between then and his return to Oxford, England in 1867, he served as rector of the High School of Quebec and professor of Classics at Morrin College, both in Quebec City. He served as vice-principal of Saint Mary Hall until 1885. In 1884 he was appointed university reader in ecclesiastical history.
In 1873, Hatch edited The student's handbook to the University and colleges of Oxford, which appeared in several revised editions during and after his time at the University. Hatch was a Bampton lecturer in 1880. He served as a Grinfield lecturer from 1880 to 1884, during which time he presented his concordance on the Septuagint. Author of hymn Breathe on me, Breath of God. 1878.(The Book of Common Prayer)