Martha Wilmot was born in County Cork to an Irish mother and an English father. She a brother and an older sister, Catherine (or Katherine). In 1803, she went to Russia as a guest of Princess Ekaterina Dashkova, founder of the Russian Academy, a prominent political and intellectual figure. With the Princess, Martha Wilmot was received in many grand Russian houses and travelled extensively. Martha later translated and published Princess Dashkova's memoirs. In 1805, her sister Catherine visited her, and the two women kept diaries and wrote letters recording their impressions of Russia and Court life and society. Martha left Russia in 1808 and married William Bradford, a chaplain in the British Embassy in Vienna. Her correspondence and journals have been published several times.