James Tunstall was born at Richmond, Yorkshire and died on 28 March 1762 in London, at his brother's house in Mark Lane. He was the son of an attorney. After Slaidburn Grammar School, he went up to St John's College, Cambridge as a sizar in 1724, graduating BA in 1727 and MA in 1731 (BD, 1738; DD, 1744). He was ordained deacon in 1729 and priest in 1742. He was elected a Fellow of St John's in 1728 and remained to become its senior dean and one of the two principal tutors. He was rector of Sturmer, Essex from 1739 to 1746 and Public Orator at Cambridge from 1741 until 1746, when he was refused leave of absence and resigned. His need for a leave of absence was due to his appointment, in 1743, as chaplain to John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury. Potter was clearly a good patron, offering Tunstall the rectory of Saltwood, Kent, which he declined, accepting instead the vicarages of Minster on the Isle of Thanet and Great Chart, Kent, both in 1747. In consequence of these preferments he resigned his Fellowship in 1748. From 1746 until his death Tunstall was Treasurer and Canon Residentiary of St David's Cathedral. In around 1750 he married Elizabeth Dodsworth, a relation of Matthew Hutton, Archbishop successively of York and Canterbury. His hopes of a prebendal stall at Canterbury did not materialize and he had to make do with the vicarage of Rochdale, which failed to live up to his financial expectations, particularly since he then resigned his other preferments, St David's excepted. He died in poor circumstances.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.