Born 1607 at Knowsley, he became Lord of Man in 1627 following the retirement of his father from most public offices after the death of his mother; he inherited the Earldom on the death of his father in 1642. Of all the Stanleys, he is the one in whose life the Isle of Man played a major part. A staunch defender of the Royalist cause, who ended his life, condemned by a Parliamentary Court Martial, on the block at Bolton. He removed to the Island in 1643 to preserve it as a Royalist stronghold and whilst there wrote a series of letters to his son which give some of his motives behind his actions and desires for the future of the Island.
Whilst on the Island he attempted to move the legal basis of insular landholdings towards a more feudal pattern, an act in which William Christian would appear to have played a duplicitous part - which attempt caused much discontent and was finally undone in the Act of Settlement of 1703/4.
Much has been written about him, and William Christian who, being held responsible for the betrayal of Castle Rushen, was later executed at the insistence of his son Charles.
Made a good, and it would seem very happy, marriage to Charlotte de Tremoille, by whom he had six children. She became famous as the successful defender of Lathom during an extended Parliamentary siege.
(see also the general references to the Stanley Family)
Espinaase Lancashire Worthies Chap 7 - a good and readable synthesis of late Victorian thought
Seacome 'House of Stanley' gives much, though sometimes somewhat hagiographic, detail of the last days of James.
J. G. Cumming The Great Stanley: or, James Seventh Earl of Derby and his noble Countess, Charlotte de la Trimoille, in their Land of Man : a Narrative of the Seventeenth Century is a historical 'novel' based on his life
Madame Guizot de Witt The Lady of Latham, being the Life and Original Letters of Charlotte de la Tremoille Countess of Derby, London, 1869