Born in 1840, Tomkinson lived at Willington Hall, Chester, He was the son of Waterloo veteran Lieutenant-general William Tomkinson and Susan, daughter of Thomas Tarleton of Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire.
He was High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1887 and in 1895, unsuccessfully contested Nuneaton for the Liberals but at the 1900 general election he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Crewe, holding the seat until his death in April 1910. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Cheshire in 1901, became Second Church Estates Commissioner in 1907, and member of the Privy Council in November 1909.
Tomkinson died on 10 April 1910 from injuries sustained in a fall while participating in the House of Commons Steeplechase.
- Charles William Tomkinson (1877–1939)
- James Edward Tomkinson, later Palmer-Tomkinson (1879–1961)
- James Algernon Palmer-Tomkinson (1915–1952)
- Jane Lindsay Tomkinson, who in 1935 married Herbert Ingram, later Sir Herbert Ingram (1912–1980)
- Henry Archdale Tomkinson (1881–1937) (Brigadier Tomkinson), manager of the royal Racing and Breeding Studs
- "House of Commons constituencies beginning with "C" (part 6)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- Tomkinson, William (1894). Tomkinson, James, ed. The Diary of a Cavalry Officer in the Peninsular and Waterloo Campaign, 1809–1815. S. Sonnenschein & Company. p. vi.
- "No. 25680". The London Gazette. 8 March 1887. p. 1222.
- Tomkinson of Willington Hall collection at catalogue details from The National Archives for records held by the Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies Service, accessed 29 August 2008
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 231. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
- "No. 27392". The London Gazette. 31 December 1901. p. 9176.
- Rt. Hon. James Tomkinson at thepeerage.com, accessed 29 August 2008
- "No. 28006". The London Gazette. 22 March 1907. p. 2002.
- "No. 28311". The London Gazette. 23 November 1909. p. 8661.
- Staff (May 1910). "The late Mr. James Tomkinson, M.P.". Baily's Magazine of Sports & Pastimes. XCIII: 389–392.
- 'INGRAM, Sir Herbert, 3rd Bt cr. 1893', in Who Was Who (London: A. & C. Black, 1920–2007) online edition (subscription required) by Oxford University Press, December 2007, accessed 30 August 2008
- 'TOMKINSON, Brigadier Henry Archdale', in Who Was Who (London: A. & C. Black, 1920–2007) online edition (subscription required) by Oxford University Press, December 2007, accessed 30 August 2008
- Works by or about James Tomkinson at Internet Archive
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Tomkinson
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Crewe
Francis Dicken Brocklehurst
|High Sheriff of Cheshire
Baron William Henry Von Schröder