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News > Memories at Hymers > Remembering the Birth of Rev. John Hymers

Remembering the Birth of Rev. John Hymers

John Hymers was born 219 years ago in 1803
A Hymers Student visiting the grave of Rev. John Hymers
A Hymers Student visiting the grave of Rev. John Hymers

Hymers College owes its existence to Reverend John Hymers, who was born 219 years ago in Ormesby, North Yorkshire on 26 July 1803.  He was the third of five children born to Thomas and Esther Hymers.

John started his education at the age of five years old at Witton-le-Wear Grammar School before attending secondary school at Sedbergh School.  He continued on to St John's College, Cambridge where he became a prominent Mathematician.

In 1852, disillusioned by the changes in university and college life, he decided on an alternative career of Rector of Brandesburton, at the age of 49 years.  There he lived in The Rectory, with his niece Esther, until his death in 1887, aged 83 years old.

During his later years, he learned about the gaps in education and as a result, he wanted to leave his fortune to found and endow a school, that would enable boys in Hull to have the same opportunities that had come his way in life.  On his death, he left a homemade will which stated:

‘I give and bequeath all the residue of my real and personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever to the Mayor and Corporation of the Borough of Kingston-upon-Hull in the County of York, wherewith to found and endow a Grammar School in their own town on the models of the Grammar Schools at Birmingham and Dulwich for the training of intelligence in whatever social rank of life it may be found amongst the vast and varied population of the town and port of Hull.’

Unfortunately, it should have said ‘found or endow’, rather than 'found and endow', resulting in his surviving younger brother, Robert Hymers, inheriting the fortune.  However, Robert spontaneously offered the Corporation of Hull a sum of £50,000 for the purpose of carrying out John's wishes.

It is thanks to John Hymers, and his brother Robert, that we have Hymers College today.  If you would like to help continue their legacy, you can donate to the John Hymers' Bursary Fund at

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