Clemence Housman was born in Worcestershire, England, to an intellectual family. She was educated at home along with her younger siblings. Her older brother Alfred would later become famous as the poet and scholar A.E. Housman. After her mother died when she was 10 years old, Clemence began helping to run the household and assist her father with his business affairs.
In 1883, with the benefit of a small inheritance, she left home and attended the South London School of Technical Art. She worked an engraver for illustrated newspapers such as The Graphic. In London, she got to know many artists and writers and became dedicated to the women's suffrage movement. She joined the Women's Social and Political Union, and in 1909 became a co-founder, with her brother Laurence Housman, of the Suffrage Atelier, a feminist group of writers, artists, and actors. The following year, she became a member of the committee of the Women's Tax Resistance League. She was arrested for non-payment of taxes and sent to Holloway Prison, but released after one week following protests and demonstrations by other suffragists. After World War I, she and Laurence lived in a cottage in the village of Ashley in Hampshire, and then moved to Street in Somerset. She published three novels, including The Were-wolf (1896), and numerous short stories such as "The Drawn Arrow" (1923), which still appeared in anthologies. She also illustrated some of the fantasy stories written by Laurence. She used her skills as an engraver and embroiderer to produce banners for a number of women’s suffrage organizations.