|Longdene House Haslemere Surrey|
James Cholmeley Russell was the eldest son of James Russell QC. (1790 – 1861), and Maria, the daughter of the Reverend Robert Cholmeley. He was born at 40 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London on 26th June 1841, some two years after his parent's marriage and christened James Cholmeley, thus perpetuating his mother’s maiden name. His parents later had two further sons and five daughters. James Russell senior had a large chancery and bankruptcy practice and this may give a clue to his eldest son's future activities.
In Easter 1855, at the age of 13, James Cholmeley Russell was sent to Harrow School leaving in Christmas 1859 and going up to Magdalene College, Oxford as a Commoner. Here he remained until June 1864, graduating with a BA, 3rd class Moderations and 2nd class in Law and Modern History. During his time at Magdalene, Russell was a keen rifle shooter, and his grand daughter, Evelyn Pangman still has a number of pewter mugs awarded as prizes in shooting competitions.