Younger brother of Henry Kirke and (John) Neville White. He attended Pembroke College,
Cambridge, graduating in 1815; Southey sent him some encouraging letters when White was disappointed by his academic performance.
White never married and became a clergyman. Initially, he held difficult curacies in industrial parishes in West Bromwich and
then St George’s, Manchester (1826–42) – Southey helped him acquire the latter post. However, he finally benefited from the
connections his brother, Neville White, had made in Norfolk, especially that with Benjamin Cubitt (1769–1852), a wealthy
clergyman and landowner. Cubitt was a relative of Neville White’s wife, Charlotte Sewell, and married in 1827, as his second
wife, Neville and James’s middle sister, Frances Moriah White (1791–1854). To consolidate the Whites’ connections with the
Cubitts even further, in 1835 Catherine Bailey White (1794–1889), the youngest sister of Neville and James, married Thomas Mack
(1794–1858), Benjamin Cubitt’s nephew and another Norfolk clergyman and landowner (Curate 1822–37, Vicar 1837–58 of Tunstead).
Cubitt, as patron of the living, appointed James White to be Vicar of Stalham in Norfolk (1843–52). Following Cubitt’s death,
White succeeded him as Rector of Sloley (1852–85), and was followed by one of Neville White’s sons, Joseph Neville White
(1825–1901) as Vicar of Stalham (1852–1901). James White also inherited the estate at Sloley after the death of his sister,
Frances. White officiated at the marriage of Southey’s daughter, Edith May, and John Warter, at Keswick in 1834.