John Manton, Wesleyan minister, was born on 17 August 1807 at Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England, the son of Thomas and Jane Manton. At 15 he felt called to preach the gospel and in January 1823 was admitted into the Methodist Society on trial. He soon became a local preacher.and in January 1831 he was set apart for missionary service, and sailed in February for New South Wales in the Surry. Manton's first appointment was at Parramatta. In January 1833 he went to Port Arthur to become its first chaplain. At Sydney in April he married Anne Green from Spilsby, Lincolnshire. In 1834 he was transferred to Launceston where for three years he conducted a most successful ministry. This was followed by short terms in other settled parts of the colony. In 1841 Manton was reappointed to Port Arthur, where he remained until the government, unsettled by the influence of Bishop Francis Nixon, decided to withdraw Wesleyan chaplains from penal stations despite their long ministry of fourteen years. He then became superintendent minister at Hobart Town, and later moved to other centres At Campbell Town, in co-operation with Captain Samuel Horton of Somercotes, near Ross, Manton prepared to establish a Wesleyan school for boys in Tasmania, for which the captain offered a site of twenty acres (8 ha) and 1000 pounds in cash. In 1855 the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Sydney, the first in Australasia, decided to open a college named after Captain Horton in an uncompleted wing of the new school building; Manton was appointed its first principal..