John Lyon (1514 – October 3, 1592) came from a wealthy landowning family living at Preston Hall in Harrow-on-the-Hill. In February 1572, having been granted a warrant by Elizabeth I, he founded Harrow School. The purpose of this “free grammar school for the boys of the parish of Harrow” was to send two scholars to Cambridge and two to Oxford. He left explicit instructions on how he wanted the school to be run after his death in his Orders, Statutes and Rules written in 1591: “The schoolmaster was to be at least an MA and the usher a BA, with salaries of £20 and £10 respectively, which were to be increased to 40 marks and 20 marks if Lyon left no heir. The schoolmaster might also teach fee-paying ‘foreigners’ provided that this did not adversely affect the children of the parish. Texts were prescribed for each of the five forms. There was to be no playtime except sometimes on fine Thursdays; church attendance was compulsory, but punishment with the rod was permitted only ‘moderately’ on pain of dismissal. No English was to be spoken above the First Form; two monitors were to be appointed to report (but not to punish) these and other faults, and a third was secretly to watch the other two. Parents were to provide paper, ink, pens, books, candles, and bows and arrows.” Perhaps more pertinent to most locals however was that he also established a trust for the maintenance of Harrow Road then called Harrow waye, and Edgware Road, which are now owned by the local council.
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