Clemence Housman

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Clemence Housman in about 1910

Clemence Annie Housman (23 November 1861 – 6 December 1955) was an author, illustrator and activist in the women's suffrage movement. She was the sister of A. E. Housman and Laurence Housman. Her novels included The Were-Wolf, Unknown Sea and The Life of Sir Aglovale De Galis.[1] She was also a leading figure in the suffragette movement.[2]


The Were-Wolf by Housman (artwork by Laurence Housman, LH)

Clemence was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.[3] She went to the South London School of Technical Art in 1883 where she learned, among other things, wood-engraving.[4] She worked for a time as an engraver for illustrated papers such as The Graphic.[4] In 1908 she subscribed to the Women's Social and Political Union, and in 1909 she was a co-founder, with her brother Laurence Housman, of the Suffrage Atelier.[4] She made banners for the suffrage movement between 1908 and 1914.[4]

In 1910 she became a member of the committee of the Women's Tax Resistance League.[4] She was arrested on 30 September 1911 for non-payment of taxes and she was sent to Holloway Prison, but she was released after just one week following protests and demonstrations by her supporters.[4]

She lived with her brother Laurence for much of her life. After World War I, they lived in a cottage in the village of Ashley in Hampshire, and then, in 1924, moved to Street, Somerset.[5][6] She died in December 1955 aged 94.


Clemence published three novels, and she illustrated some of the fantasies written by her brother Laurence.[7] Each of Housman's novels is a "Christian fantasy", dramatising religious themes.[8] Her first novel, The Were-wolf (1896), was an allegorical erotic fantasy featuring a female werewolf.[7] H. P. Lovecraft said of the Were-Wolf that it "attains a high degree of gruesome tension and achieves to some extent the atmosphere of authentic folklore."[9] Basil Copper described The Were-wolf as "a minor classic in the genre".[10] The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis is an Arthurian fantasy.[7] Douglas A. Anderson has described The Life of Sir Aglovale de Galis as Housman's "supreme achievement".[8] "The Drawn Arrow" (1923) is a short fable set in a desert kingdom.[8]


  • Clemence Housman (1896), The Were-wolf, London: J. Lane at the Bodley Head, OL 13492113M – illustrated by Laurence Housman.
  • Clemence Housman (1898), Unknown Sea, London: Duckworth, OL 7217479M
  • Clemence Housman (1905), The Life of Sir Aglovale De Galis (The life of Sir Aglovale de Galis ed.), London: Methuen, OL 7233562M

As illustrator[edit]

  • Laurence Housman, The Blue Moon (1904) – illustrations by L.H., engraved by C.H.
  • Laurence Housman (1922), Moonshine & Clover, Illustrated by Clemence Housman, New York: Harcourt, Brace, OCLC 6553308, OL 7073215M


  1. ^ Open Library page for Clemence Housman
  2. ^ Sandra Stanley Holton (1996), Suffrage days, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-10941-8, OL 805990M, 0415109418
  3. ^ Elizabeth Crawford, 'Housman, Clemence Annie (1861–1955)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 7 Feb 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f Elizabeth Crawford (2002) The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866–1928, page 424. Routledge. ISBN 0203031091
  5. ^ A. T. Lloyd, J. E. S. Brooks, (1996), The History of New Milton and its Surrounding Area, Centenary Edition, page 66
  6. ^ "Catalogue of Laurence Housman's works". Street Society. Archived from the original (Word) on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Brian Stableford, (2009), The A to Z of Fantasy Literature, page 205. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810868296
  8. ^ a b c Douglas A. Anderson, Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy. Del Rey Books, New York, ISBN 978-0-345-45855-1 (pp. 213, 431)
  9. ^ Supernatural Horror in Literature; The Weird Tradition in the British Isles, HP Lovecraft
  10. ^ Basil Copper, The Werewolf : In Legend, Fact and Art. New York, St. Martin's Press 1977. (pp. 179-80) ISBN 978-0-709-16193-6

Further reading[edit]

  • Elizabeth Oakley, (2009), Inseparable Siblings: A Portrait of Clemence and Laurence Housman. Brewin Books. ISBN 185858440X

External links[edit]