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Harrow School

This Free School, which now ranks among the first public seminaries in the kingdom, was founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by John Lyon, a wealthy yeoman of Preston, who had previously for many years appropriated 20 marks per annum, to teaching poor children. In 1590, two years before his death, he drew up a set of statutes for the school, with full instructions for the disposal of the estates which be intended to appropriate to various charitable uses. In these papers he mentions his intention of building a school-house, with habitations for the master and usher, and directs the sum of 300l. to be expended for that purpose, within three years after his decease, provided he should die without having completed this intention.

It was customary till within these last 30 years, for the scholars of Harrow to have a public exhibition of archery annually on the 4th of August, when they shot for a silver arrow. Since this custom has been laid aside, public speeches have been exhibited. The former directs, that a competent number of poor scholars shall be educated freely, but allows the master to take other children for his profit, without any other limitation than the discretion of the governors; he adds a singular clause, that the master shall not receive any girls into the school. The reputation of Harrow School was raised to a great height by Dr. Thackeray and Dr. Sumner, particularly the latter, who was an excellent classical scholar, and celebrated for the elegance of his Latin compositions; under him many of the present nobility, and some of the most distinguished characters of the age for genius and learning, received their education.. The school still keeps its reputation; and its numbers are usually on an average about 150.

Some considerable extension of the buildings requisite for the purposes of the school is in contemplation; and if determined upon is likely to, proceed under the most honourable auspices.

See also: Old School Customs Harrow School

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819