John Lyon was a yeoman farmer from the village of Preston in Harrow. In 1572, he was granted a Royal Charter by Elizabeth I to found a free grammar school for boys: Harrow School. He lies buried with his wife Joan in St Mary’s Church, Harrow-on-the-Hill, close to Harrow School.
The charter anticipated that John Lyon would endow a trust for the purpose of maintaining the two roads between London and Harrow, now the Edgware and Harrow Roads. In 1578, John Lyon provided an endowment in the form of a farm of some 48 acres in the area now known as Maida Vale for that purpose.
John Lyon’s Foundation consists of Harrow School (the original school), John Lyon School (established in 1876 as a day school to provide education for boys from the local community) and John Lyon’s Charity. It is governed by the Keepers and Governors of the Free Grammar School of John Lyon, the corporation that was established by the 1572 charter.