Biography – Mary Freak Camilleri

Mary Freak (26 May 1803 – March 1875) was one of the daughters of Thomas Freak, Esq, and Elizabeth Walters. Mary was born in Lee, Kent, but the family moved several times in Kent, including Eltham and Greenwich.  Her father made a good living as a ship breaker.  The family appears not to have been very religious, as Mary was baptised in 1818 with her younger sister Louise, at St Mary Rothertite, Surrey.  Her sister Rose (1811) was baptised in 1830.  There appears to have been no rush.

In June of 1826, Mary married Joseph Camilleri. Joseph was born in Malta, and at that time was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.  According to one source, Camilleri was “the only officer of the period to ever win his epaulettes whilst being born a foreigner.  He was Catholic, she was Church of England.  Together they had seven children.

The family moved around a great deal, no doubt as a result of Camilleri’s military career. The first three children were born in Malta, the family then moved to Devon, then Middlesex, Malta again, then Cheltenham,  and finally Lewisham.

Apart form the birth of her children, and her appearance in the census every ten years, little is known of her life. It is known that the level of living was comfortable, evidenced by the presence of servants in the household.  Mary did inherit £4130 18s 2d from her parents’ estate in 1839, which must have benefitted the family’s income. Camilleri retired a Captain in the Navy.

Mary appears to have moved back to the area near where many of her siblings were living, in Kent. Also, many of her children were also settled around the south shore of the Thames River, Camberwell, Faversham, etc.  Mary died in March of 1875.


“Malta under the French Rule”

England Census, 1841-1871

Death Registration, England 1875

Parish Register, St Alphanage, Greenwich

Parish Register, St Mary Rothertite, Surrey

British Archives, Will of Thomas Freak, Esq