James Rogers was probably born in the 1480s, one of the younger sons of Sir Henry Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset, and his wife, a daughter of William, Lord Stourton whose name is variously given as Anne, Amy, or Avice Stourton. James does not appear with his brothers in the list of Henry's children in a manuscript of noble genealogies compiled circa 1505, but there is reason to suppose that particular genealogy was taken from a slightly older source as it refers to James's father as "Harry Rogers, Esq". Henry had become a Knight of the Bath on 17 Nov 1501 for Prince Arthur's marriage, and thereafter would not have been described as a mere esquire. This may suggest James was the youngest child, yet to be born when the genealogy was produced.
Sir Henry's will, dated 14 Dec 1506, includes a bequest of £20 to James "if he proved to be a doctore to help him at that art". This wording suggests James was hoping to gain a D.D. or LL.D., and as he is not listed in Alumni Cantabrigienses, it is likely he was at the University of Oxford. An 1853 century pedigree by the then Windsor Herald refers to him as a Doctor of Divinity, though on what evidence is unclear. On 18 August 1511, James became rector of Bryanston. He was presented to the living by his brother John who had inherited the advowson from their father. A new rector was appointed on May 1522, quite probably because James had recently died. As a priest in the Catholic church, James would not have married.
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