Mr. Wilmot
Martha Wilmot


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Reverend William Bradford

Martha Wilmot 54

  • Born: 1774
  • Died: 18 December 1873 aged 99

bullet  General Notes:

Found in The Times, December 22, 1873

On the 18th Dec., at the house of her son-in-law, William Brooke,
Master in Chancery, Ireland, at an advanced age, Martha Bradford (born
Wilmot), widow of the Rev. William Bradford, Rector of Storrington,

Found in The Times, November 15, 1935

More Letters From Martha Wilmot: Impressions of Vienna, 1819-1829.
Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by the Marchioness of Londonderry
and H. M. Hyde. (Macmillan. 21s.)
Lady Londonderry and Mr. Hyde, who last year gave us "The Russian
Journals of Martha and Caroline Wilmot", now present us with the
promised sequel. Martha, the younger of the two Anglo-Irish sister,
after fives years spent in Russia as the fortunate protégée of
Princess Dashkov, returned to England in 1808. Four years later she
married the Rev. William Bradford, who held the living of Storrington
in Sussex and who, in 1819, was offered the post of chaplain to the
British Embassy at Vienna. Save for travels in Italy and Tirol,
Martha Bradford remained in Vienna with her husband and their three
children for nearly ten years. The present volume consists mainly of
the letters she sent to England during this time, of which the greater
number are addressed to her unmarried sister Alicia.
As readers of her Russian journals will know, Martha's pen dances to
as tripping and vivacious a measure as the formality of the occasion
allows. She is always inclined to be a little overcome by
magnificence, but yet retains an unfailing eye for accidental and
unrehearsed effects. Her letters from Vienna are light-hearted to the
point of frivolity, full of vivid descriptions and immensely
entertaining. The waltzes and the diamonds at Embassy balls; the
fashions in "the gauzy, flouncy, frubelow, flybysky place"; the feat
of walking backwards down a room 60 feet long "without treading on our
tails"; the equipages and the rank and beauty on the Prater - these
things she describes in breathless and misspelt words of brilliant
choosing. All sorts of scenes spring to vivid life in unexpected
phrases and bursts of Irish idiom, particularly when she is writing of
the accomplishments, spontaneous and unwilling, of her children. The
most notable set description is an account of the famous ball given at
the British Embassy at the conclusion of the season of carnival in
1826. Martha is almost reduced to speechlessness in the attempt to
reproduce the costume of Harum al Raschid in one "quadrille" and of
Queen Elizabeth, "accoutered like a hog in armour", in another.
The Ambassador at the time was Sir Henry Wellesley, afterwards Lord
Cowley. For the first three years of Martha's residence in Vienna,
however, Lord Stewart, Castlereagh's half-brother and later the third
Marquess of Londonderry, was still in occupation. Martha's growing
hostility to Lord and Lady Stewart, whom eventually she came to regard
with venomous indignation, forms a comic little essay in
self-revelation. Flattered and pampered as she had been in Russia,
Princess Dashkov's favourite could not easily resign herself to
comparative obscurity in Vienna; her gorge rose at the Ambassadorial
neglect and she raged bitingly at the Stewarts' "regal" airs.
Martha died in her ninety-ninth year (Catherine died of consumption in
1824), apparently alert and vital to the last. It is her tremendous
vitality which these letters of hers reveal once more. In addition to
the letters the volume contains the journal of an Italian tour and a
series of drawings of Viennese figures by William Bradford, together
with other illustrations.


Martha married Reverend William Bradford, son of Mr. Bradford and Unknown.

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