In creating his new Free School in Sandwich, Sir Roger Manwood ensured that it would have firm foundations. The present School is hugely indebted to his foresight - there are four Foundations which still today appoint Governors: the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Lincoln College, Oxford, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and the Diocese of Canterbury. Sir Roger Manwood's inspiration lasted two and a half centuries, into a mid-Victorian era which saw the School, like many Elizabethan foundations, drift into anonymity.
In 1890 the Charity Commission issued an ultimatum: either the Manwood endowments be used to revive the School, or they should be used for general educational purposes. Thomas Dorman, thrice Mayor of Sandwich, was the major benefactor in the revival, and by 1895 the new Manwood Road site was ready for occupation. This is the thirty-acre site of the present school, and from the sixteen boys who entered in 1895 the School has grown to over 800 boys and girls.
In September 1992 Manwood's became Grant-Maintained, keeping its Founder's intention firmly in mind: to offer as broad an education as possible, with special emphasis on the pupils' academic development. In 1999 the School assumed Foundation status.
Though a non-denominational school, Manwood's has had close links through the centuries with St Clement's Church, whose Rector is a member of the Governing Body. This is one of the several strong community connections which make Manwood's precisely what its founder intended.
Boarders joined Headmaster's House even in Elizabethan times, but expansion came much later. First, Manwood Lodge was acquired in 1947, and three years later the School purchased Manwood Grange. There are now 55 boarding places. Teaching space has expanded similarly, according to the requirements of both pupil numbers and curriculum. Co-education arrived in the 1980s.
The late 1990's saw the beginning of a major building programme improving the quality of provision for the pupils across the whole curriculum. The additional facilities created include four well-equipped Science Laboratories, a refurbished Library and Multi-Media Resource Centre, a Technology Block, new classrooms and offices dedicated to the History and R.E. Departments, a hard-play area and astro-turf pitch and a four-badminton-court-sized Sports Hall. In 2003 the school was awarded Language College Status and a state-of-the-art language laboratory was built.