Carroll, Sir James (d. 1639), landowner and state official, was eldest son of Thomas Carroll, a Dublin merchant (probably descended from the O'Carrolls of Ely), and his first wife Alice Mountfield. James is first recorded on his appointment as chief chamberlain of the exchequer on 26 March 1597. He was appointed deputy treasurer at war to Sir George Carey in 1600 and was knighted by Sir Arthur Chichester (qv), who appointed him chief remembrancer of the exchequer on 8 June 1609 and proposed him, without success, as a servitor grantee for the plantation in Ulster.
He resided in Cook Street in Dublin, and received a lease of the Steyne fields and strand to the east of the city from the corporation in 1610. That he was engaged in trade is strongly suggested by his provision of shipping to pursue pirates who had taken a ship in Lough Foyle in 1612. In the same year he became involved in Dublin civic politics, ostensibly for family reasons. The government had recently begun to enforce the statutory obligation of municipal chief officers to subscribe to the oath of supremacy and Carroll’s father, a catholic alderman whose turn it was to assume the office of mayor, petitioned the city council to accept Sir James as mayor in his place. The council acceded to his request and James was admitted to the franchise, made an alderman and elected mayor. It may not have been coincidental that the mayor for that year had the exceptional duty of presiding over the election of members to the parliament in 1613 for which the government was intent on securing a protestant majority.
Carroll's first initiative, on 1 October 1612, was to issue a proclamation ordering Jesuits and other priests to leave the city. On 28 April 1613 catholic opponents of the government took advantage of his absence to return two catholic aldermen to parliament. His attempt to conduct a new election was violently resisted, but the lord deputy intervened to restore order and Carroll presided over the election of the government candidates on April 29. A formal protest was entered by the catholic freemen and aldermen and dismissed by a commission of inquiry headed by the lord deputy.
When the Wexford plantation project was revived after the dissolution of parliament in 1615, Carroll was granted 1,000 acres of Kavanagh land at Ballycarney. In 1618, while serving a second term as mayor of Dublin, he bought the Baltinglass portion of the Harrington estate in Co. Wicklow from Sir Charles Wilmot (qv): in 1622 he resold it to Sir Thomas Roper for £3,500. In the same year he was party to a dubious transaction involving the lands of St Mary's Abbey near Dublin for which lord deputy Falkland (qv) was reprimanded by the English privy council in January 1623.
Carroll served further terms as mayor in 1625–6 and 1634–5. Early in the first of these terms, on 30 September 1625, he surrendered his exchequer office. During the second he fell victim to the determination of the lord deputy, Sir Thomas Wentworth (qv) to promote increased trade by removing customary impediments, one of which was the dual privilege of the mayor of Dublin, as clerk of the market, to fix and regulate commodity prices and to take certain profits by buying goods at preferential prices for resale at the rates set. In January 1635 Wentworth issued a proclamation announcing a reduction in the price of coal and ordered the mayor to observe it. Carroll, however, continued to adhere to the customary procedures. He was charged with disobedience and evidence was presented that he had sold coal at double the price he paid for it. He denied all knowledge of the proclamation, pleaded custom, and was fined £1,000, imprisoned during the lord deputy's pleasure, and debarred from holding office.
Carroll died at Ballycarney on 6 October 1639 and was buried in the cathedral church of Ferns, despite his expressed wish to be buried in St Michael's church in Dublin. He was married three times: first, to Elizabeth (d. November 1613), daughter of Robert Legge, deputy remembrancer, with whom he had two sons and four daughters; secondly, to Elizabeth (d. November 1626), daughter of Sir Arthur Savage, of Rheban Castle near Athy, Co Kildare, with whom he had three daughters; and thirdly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cole, of Stokesley, Yorkshire, England, one of the king's chaplains in ordinary, with whom he had three sons.