John Lyon was a yeoman farmer from the village of Preston, located in the present-day Borough of Brent.
In 1572, Queen Elizabeth I granted John Lyon a Royal Charter to found Harrow School, a free grammar school for 30 boys from his parish. The Charter also anticipated that John Lyon would establish a separate trust to maintain the two roads between London and Harrow, now the Edgware and Harrow Roads. In 1578, John Lyon provided an endowment for that purpose in the form of a 48-acre farm in the area known today as Maida Vale. He lies buried with his wife Joan in St Mary’s Church, Harrow on the Hill.
John Lyon’s Foundation is an educational foundation, consisting of three main elements – Harrow School (the original school), The John Lyon School (established in 1876 as a day school to provide education for boys from the local community), and John Lyon’s Charity. Its aims are based on its history and culture and the charitable intentions of its Founder, John Lyon, and his belief in the intrinsic value of education and the possibilities and opportunities that this can bring. Each element of the Foundation has its own strategic plan, prepared largely from its own, independent yet related perspective.
The three elements of the Foundation provide opportunities to educate, enable and inspire children and young people through its broad range of activities, primarily through the provision of education and learning and through the awarding of grants by the Charity.