A native of Newbury, in Berkshire. He was educated in William de Wykeham’s School at Winchester; and also at St. Mary’s College, founded by the same munificent Wykeham at Oxford. “Manners make the man, quoth William of Wykeham,” is a motto frequently inscribed on the buildings of his School and College. Mr. Harmar became a Fellow of his College in 1574. He was appointed the King’s Professor of Greek in 1585, being, at the time, in holy orders. He was head-master of Winchester School, for nine years, and Warden of his College for seventeen years. He became Doctor of Divinity in 1605. His death took place in 1613. He was a considerable benefactor to the libraries both of the school and the college of Wykeham’s foundation.
For all his preferment he was indebted to the potent patronage of the Earl of Leicester. He accompanied that nobleman to Paris, where he held several debates with the popish Doctors of the Sorbonne. He stood high in the crowd of tall scholars, the literary giants of the time.
He published several learned works; among them, Latin translations of several of Chrysostom’s writings,--also an excellent translation of Beza’s French Sermons into English, by which he shows himself to have been a Calvinist, the master of an excellent English style, and an adept in the difficult art of translating. Wood says, that he was “a most noted Latinist, Grecian, and Divine;” and that he was “always accounted a most sold theologist, admirable well read in the Fathers and Schoolmen, and in his younger years a subtle Aristotelian,” Of him too it may be said, “having had a principal hand in the Translation,” that he was worthy to rank with those, who gave the Scriptures in their existing English form, to untold millions, past, present, and to come.