Bryce, James (1806–77), geologist and teacher, was born 22 October 1806 at Killaig, near Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, third son of James Bryce (qv) (1767–1857) and Catherine Bryce (née Annan). His father had recently been appointed minister of Killaig anti-burgher church. James Bryce the younger was educated at home by his parents – both classical scholars – and by his older brother Reuben John, who became principal of Belfast Academy. Even before James graduated MA from Glasgow University (1828) and became mathematics teacher in Belfast Academy, he had reported to his brother on improved teaching of science in Scottish universities. He introduced new methods of teaching mathematics and geography to Belfast Academy; a geological museum was started in the school, and his fieldwork in Antrim resulted in important papers on the Giant's Causeway and fossils. When he moved to Glasgow High School (1846), he was one of the first to teach natural science and natural history in a Scottish school, and continued geological fieldwork in the Highlands until his death. He published introductory textbooks on algebra, mathematics, astronomy, and geography, as well as a handbook on the Isle of Arran and the Clyde and papers on geology. His descriptions of the Giant's Causeway appeared in the Proceedings of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and in the Geological Magazine. He was a fellow of the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of Dublin, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (elected 1875). He was involved with reforms in the University of Glasgow, which awarded him an honorary LLD (1858). He married (1836) Margaret Young of Abbeyville, near Belfast, who had been his pupil at Belfast Academy. Her father was James Young, a linen merchant; her brother Robert Young (qv) was an engineer, and his son Robert Magill Young (qv) an architect. James, Viscount Bryce (qv) (1838–1922), was the eldest son of James and Margaret Bryce; John Annan Bryce (qv) was another son, and there were two daughters. James Bryce was killed by a rockfall 11 July 1877, while engaged on geological fieldwork in the Scottish Highlands.
DNB; Arthur Deane (ed.), Centenary volume 1821–1921: Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society (1924), 65–6; Robert Young, ‘Reminiscences of Robert Young’, Ir. Booklore, i, no. 1 (1971), 9–10; information from Ted Marr, family historian