John Le­man had an am­bi­tious zest for life grow­ing up in the 1550s. He left the dairy farms, fish­ing wa­ters and the busy trad­ing route of the Waveney to find his for­tune in Lon­don. By 19, he was ap­pren­ticed to the em­i­nent Fish­mon­ger’s Com­pany, by his late 20s he was a ‘free­man’ of the city. He be­came Prime War­den of the Fish­mon­gers’ Com­pany, Sher­iff of Lon­don, Lord Mayor in 1616 and was knighted by James I. In his will of 1631, he gave Bec­cles a build­ing, a place for the education of 48 lo­cal boys, and a sup­port­ing legacy. It was al­ready a school and he wanted it to stay that way.

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