A prominent York layman, connected with Centenary WM chapel. In 1859 he inherited the family’s coal, lime and sand business founded in 1811 by his great grandfather, Peter Rymer. He was both a colliery owner and chairman of the Wharfedale Coal Company, Castleford and of the York Glass Company, as well as being a directory of the York Waterworks. As a councillor he represented Monk Ward from 1867 to 1885 and was then an alderman until 1917. He was Sheriff of York 1881-2 and Lord Mayor 1887-8, 1899-1900 and1907-8. A prominent Freemason, he was a governor of the York Merchant Adventurers, was given the Freedom of York in 1899 and knighted in 1901. He died on 18 February 1923 and was interred in the private York Cemetery.
His son, Edwin John Leetham Rymer (died at Harrogate 1941 aged 71) was the Conservative councillor for the Monk Ward, 1920-24 and Heworth, 1925-33, and was Lord Mayor, 1928-9.