He attended Winchester College as a scholar, then New College, Oxford, where he would remain for the remainder of his life. He became a fellow in 1829, took his BA in 1832, and was ordained in 1834. He held every major office in the college, and in 1860 became the Warden, recieving his DD in the same year.
James Edwards Sewell was frequently consulted by his brother William over the founding of Radley College. The most significant later link was the charitable foundation based on the servitors. These were boys who received a ‘sound religious education’ in exchange for domestic duties about the school, such as serving at tables, and most particularly, acting as choristers in chapel, and then to proceed through the Classical curriculum until they qualified as Fellows, although there is no record that any ever reached that goal. William Sewell encouraged them to go on to New College, Oxford, as undergraduates or probably still as servitors, fulfilling much the same domestic functions in exchange for an education at the university. This continued as a historic link until the 1900s, possibly only fading away following James Edwards’ death.
James Edwards donated his personal collection of his brother William’s works to Radley College.
There is an entry on Sewell in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography