James was educated at Saint Mary's School, Saltcoats, Saint Aloysius' College, Glasgow, Saint Mary's College, Blairs, Aberdeen and the Grand Seminary of Saint Sulpice, Paris. He was ordained in Notre Dame Cathedral by Cardinal Anette, Archbishop of Paris, for the Archdiocese of Westminster, London on 4 July 1908. James was the first Parish Priest of Saint Joan of Arc Church, Highbury, London. He was chaplain to Holloway and Pentonville Prisons from 1908 to 1916. He witnessed eight executions including those of the murderer, 'Doctor' Crippen who was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 28 November 1910 and Roger Casement, the Irish patriot who was executed on 3 August 1916.
James was a participant
at the opening High Mass in the Church of Saint Peter in Chains, Ardrossan on
2 October 1938.
Father McCarroll died at the Hospital of Saint John and Saint Elizabeth, London on 5 November 1952. His funeral Mass was celebrated in the Church of Saint Peter in Chains on 10 November 1952 by Father William McBurnie, Parish Priest. In the panegyric, Father McCarroll's friend, Father J Shaw paid tribute to James's attributes and qualities. Father McCarroll is buried in Ardrossan Cemetery.
The left photograph above was taken in about 1910 and the right photograph in about the late 1930s.