James was born in 1850 at Ashley, Lincolnshire, to parents Robert Hird, a grocer and draper (1851) and Fanny Dennis Kendall.
Census returns identify the following occupations for James.
- 1871 divinity student at Ulverston
- 1881 M.A. Tutor & Lecturer at Oxford
- 1891 clerk in holy orders
- 1901 author
- 1911 warden of labour college
He married Sarah Jane Pickles (1842-1938) on 19 October 1872 at St Simon, Liverpool, Lancashire. Census returns identify three of four children.
- Effie Maud (1873-1959) – a school mistress (1911); teacher at private school (1939)
- Robert Beatson Dennis (1880-1948) – an ophthalmic surgeon (1911)
- Dora Sybil (1882-1951)
James died on 13 July 1920 at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.
1870 Barrow in Furness
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers
Note: This was James not John as given in Leary