Charles Bradley (1785‐1845), tobacconist of Birmingham, had been a follower of the prophetess Joanna Southcott; after her barren death in 1814 he became chief patron of the prophet and demagogue John ‘Zion’ Ward (1781‐1837) who announced himself to be the Shiloh, the redeemer that Southcott had expected to bear. Bradley's family were also converted and their close relationship with the Shiloh can be seen in over one hundred letters from Ward to the family published in Zion's Works (1899‐1904). Charles Bradley's son, Charles the younger, who had married another Shilohite and affirmed the ‘United Rights of Man and Woman’, became the father of Katherine Harris Bradley (1848‐1914) and grandfather of Edith Emma Cooper (1862‐1913), the aunt and niece who published poetry as ‘Michael Field’. From 1833 the younger Charles Bradley, more politically radical than his father, was in correspondence with Richard Carlile who visited the family on his release from gaol in 1833; he took part in services at the tobacconist's chapel, speaking on Tom Paine and attacking priestcraft. Aunt and niece lived leisured lives as respectable, upper‐class writers. In two generations the family had made the political, religious, artistic and social journey from provincial Birmingham to literary London.
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