FREEMANTLE HISTORY from ENGLAND to SOUTH AFRICA.
The earliest names traced for this branch of the Freemantle family are of two brothers in Portsea, near Southampton, and most of the names mentioned in the tree below are of those families who were descended from various 1820 Settlers who immigrated to South Africa. There was, of course, a considerable amount of intermarriage within this group and for easy identification these Settlers are marked with an asterisk, thus *.
It would appear that the Freemantle family in England is mainly to be found centred around three different parts of the country - either in or about the area surrounding the seat of Baron Cottesloe, where the family (Fremantle) have been known for centuries, or in the Greater London district, (these of much more recent residence) or, otherwise, in Southampton and the nearby towns.
It seems probable and most likely that the ancestors of the 1820 Settler, Richard Freemantle lived in the latter area since he was married there and records from the Portsea parish have provided some interesting leads concerning this particular branch, which should be investigated more deeply.
One of the traditional family stories relates that after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth (nee Mitchell), *Richard Freemantle, who had three sons by her, married his housekeeper and this brought about a schism between him and his father, which resulted in Richard moving, with his new wife and family, to London. However, it is possible that he and his first wife Elizabeth Freemantle nee Mitchell moved there as the Mormon Church Registers [IGI] records the children's births in London. But this may be because the names and ages were taken from the Colonial Office and/or shipping lists and the family joined the 1820 Settler emigrants in London.
In 'Some Frontier Families' the authors, I. Mitford-Barberton and Violet White wrote, 'Richard was the son of a wealthy London gentleman'. However, no confirmation of this has been found. Certainly, Richard's first marriage took place in Portsea, near Southampton and it would seem that his father, also Richard, may have lived there; but this is not confirmed as the marriage may have taken place in Portsea because his wife's family, the Mitchells, were well established thereabouts.
There are also a number of pointers indicating that several branches of the Freemantle family did and still do reside in and around Southampton. For instance there is still a large open park area, called Freemantle Common and, until recently, there was another piece of open ground also called after the family, which has now been incorporated into a housing development.
In Johannesburg and elsewhere in South Africa quite a few other branches of the Freemantle family, not linked to the 1820 Settlers, have been encountered, all of whom originated in the Southampton district. Coincidently, another connecting link between all these different branches is the high incidence of twins being born within their ranks. Other genetic links have also been observed; one being the occasional reappearance in family members of a small tic - or twitch - hard to describe, but once seen easily recognised, which turns up periodically in distant cousins and even those who seem to share no relationship other than the name.
Since the arrival in South Africa of the original 1820 Settler and his family, the Freemantle clan has multiplied considerably and members of it are now to be found in each of the Provinces and in every walk of life.