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About The School

About Us

Our History

The Manning’s School Past Students Association (MSPSA) was established to provide financial and other assistance to Manning’s School to maintain excellence in academics, sports and extra-curricular activities, and to create networking, support and other opportunities for its members and other past students. Manning’s School owes its existence to Thomas Manning, landed proprietor of Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland who died in 1710. He bequeathed: “…all my run of land in Burnt Savanna in the parish of Westmoreland…with all houses, buildings and plantations upon the same land consisting of forty acres together with one pen of neat cattle, ten riding horses, two mares and two colts…for the use and encouragement of tutors for keeping a free school in the parish of Westmoreland to instruct the youth.”
In 1738, the Jamaica Assembly Act finalized the legal formalities which paved the way for the setting up of the Manning’s Free School on its present site in Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland. A Board of Trustees was appointed to employ a principal, set up the curriculum, determine the size of the student body and carry out financial and other supervisory functions. For most of the eighteenth and nineteenth century the school served the white community, in particular poor whites who could not afford to pay private tutors or send their children to Europe. As the years progressed, the 20th Century led to the reorganization of the School into a Modern Grammar School. The oldest existing part of the School which was built in the early 20th Century is known as the Thomas Manning Building, named in honor of the School’s founder. It is the most outstanding building on the entire School property and is currently used as library and classrooms.
The Thomas Manning Building is a delightful structure which is constructed from timber and the rest on a masonry plinth. Typical of the Georgian architecture, the building is perfectly symmetrical in elevation. However, for its function in the tropics, the Architect had added several features. On all sides the building has been fitted with deep verandas to add shade. The vented steep gable roof expels hot air, and a cupola with fixed jalousies provide relief for any warm air trapped in the roof. The features combined have created a perfect example of colonial architecture. The school became one of the leading institutions of its kind in Jamaica during the period 1823 to 1863 under the leadership of Rev. Daniel Fiddler, the first principal with a university degree. During the Fiddler era the school started to attract students from the neighboring parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. James and Hanover. It was during this time that the first six boys of color were admitted to the school. The introduction of a girl’s department and the opening up of an elementary department serving as a feeder school, also took place during Fiddler’s time at the school. Since that time Manning’s has achieved consistently high scholastic achievements and successes in sports and is considered one of the finest schools in the Jamaican education pantheon.

Sources: Kelly, John. “Mannings School Then and Now.” Mannings School 250th Anniversary Supplement. The Daily Gleaner, Wednesday, November 30, 1988: 5. Turner, Virginia. “Mannings 250th Anniversary.” The Jamaica Record. Thursday, August 4, 1988: 7.


Years                                         Names

1780-1788                                           James Dickenson

1788-1790                                           John West

1790-1791                                           John Barton

1791-1793                                           David Duff

1793-1801                                           Rev. W. Stewart

1801-1823                                           Richard Combauld

1823-1863                                           Rev. Daniel Fidler (B.A.)

1863-1864                                           Rev. Edward Pearce (B.A.)

1864-1882                                           Rev E. Clarke

1884-1887                                           Edwin S. McBay

1887-1903                                           W. A. Milne (B.A.)

1903-1911                                           A. W. Levy (B.A)

1911 (May- July)                                 F. A. Foster

1911 (Aug-Dec)                                  Rev. H. Messam

1912-1915                                           P. E. Willis

1915 (May-July)                                  R. C. Young (B.A.)

1915-1933                                           R. H. Smith

1933-1938                                           John Thompson

1938-1942                                           J. H. Newhaam (B.A.)

1942-1948                                           Rev. G.E. Mitchell (B.A.)

1949-1961                                           L.A. Prescod (B.A.)

1961-1966                                           R. M. Nicholson (M. A.)

1966-1969                                           H.C. Edwards (DIP-ED. /ADMIN.)

1969-1970                                           G. E. Mead (BSC/P.C.C.E)

1970- Dec 1972                                  S. Williams (BSC. MSC. M.I.-BIO)

1973 (Jan-Aug)                                   Marjorie A. Bowen (B.A. DIP-ED)

1973-1988                                           H.G. Neita (BSC- Econ. DIP-ED)

1988 (Sept-Aug) 1989                          Eldon Mulai (B.A. – HONS)

1989 (Apr- Oct) 1992                         Howard B. Jackson (B.A. CERT-ED)

1992- Oct 1994                                   Gloria V. Wagstaff (M.A. B.A.)

1994-2005                                           Bonito E. White (BSC. – HONS. DIP-ED)

2005 Sept.- 2010                                 Gloria V. Wagstaff (M.A. B.A., JP)

2010 May – Currently                          Steve Gordon (BED. MSC.)

About Us


Dear Manning’s School, Our ancient light of learning,

In splendor shining over all the west,

For Thee Thy sons’ and daughters’ hearts are burning

With gladsome voice to tell they love Thee best

Westmoreland’s Hope, Jamaica’s march maintaining,

From days of yore Thou dost example set,

Thy sober task to teach without complaining,

And, God be praised, Thou hast not faltered yet.

Thy lessons these, to love the land around Thee,

To learn from lore of science how to till;

Harness the streams and waters that surround Thee,

To love the trees the herb upon the hills.

To play with zest, to fight with strength and spirit

Defend the right and evil to eschew

With might and main to hold what we inherit,

And for our sons to work for treasures new.

To lose with grace, with ne’er a frown or whimper

At referee’s ruling or at umpire’s word;

To show good taste and tact and keep our temper

To mind our talk nor gossip all we’ve heard

O School Of Ours, We Pledge Thee Our Devotion

O School Of Ours, Let This Be E’er Our Rule,

Where’er We Walk Or Sail On Land Or Ocean,

That We Remember Thee, Our Own Dear Manning’s School.