James was one of the fourteen children of William Gilbert and his wife Elizabeth (née Brightly) of Littleport, Cambridgeshire.
James appeaers as a farmer of Littleport at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Howlett in 1878 and by the time of the 1881 Census, they were living at the Gilbert farm at Burnt Chimney Drove, Littleport, and farming 55 acres and employing one man and one boy.
James and Elizabeth had nine children, although two of these children did not survive in to adulthood.
James outlived his wife by four months but predeceased his mother-in-law by about 7 months. He died in Bramfield, Suffolk, at the home of his married daughter, Mary Peacock.
17th April 1848 at 12:30am at Burnt Chimney Drove, Littleport in Cambridgeshire.
- Elizabeth Howlett (1856-1916) on 15th February 1878 at Littleport Church in Cambridgeshire.
- Caroline Gilbert (1878-?) married Arthur John Oakes.
- Mary Gilbert (1879-?) married Jabez Arthur Peacock (1875-?).
- William Gilbert (1880-?) married Selina Crag (1880-?).
- Hannah Gilbert (1881-1883)
- Ellen Gilbert (1883-?) married Frank Gotobed.
- Clara Emma Gilbert (1884-1973) married Alfred Newman (1883-1969)
- Florence Emily Gilbert (1887)
- Elizabeth Emily Gilbert (1888-?) married James Gibson.
- Amelia Gilbert (1892-?) married Nathaniel Neale.
12th December 1916, aged 68 years, at Bramfield, Suffolk. His death certificate states that he was "66 years" and that he died in the presence of his son-in-law, Jabez A. Peacock.
Cause of Death:
1. Cerebral Haemorrhage, 2. Syncope - Certified by John Aylen.
15th December 1916, with his wife Elizabeth and their grandson Willie Gilbert in Littleport cemetery, Cambridgeshire.