Spender-Clay was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and on 10 June 1896 was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Life Guards. He was promoted to lieutenant on 20 April 1898, and served in the Second Boer War, during which he was further promoted to captain on 25 September 1901. Following his return from South Africa, he resigned his commission in early September 1902 to take up farming on his father's estate in Surrey, which he inherited.
He was elected at January 1910 general election as the Member of Parliament for the Tunbridge division of Kent. He was re-elected in December 1910, and when the division was abolished in boundary changes for the 1918 general election he was returned as a Coalition Conservative for the new Tonbridge division. He held that seat through a further six general elections until his death.
In April–May 1917 he was a member of the Balfour Mission, intended to promote cooperation between the US and UK during World War I.
Herbert Henry Spender-Clay was born on 4 June 1875, the only son of Joseph Spender-Clay and Sydney Garrett. He was a Godson of Rev John Harden Clay, the son of Herbert's great uncle Rev John Clay.
At the age of 29, he married on 29 October 1904, Pauline Astor, who was then 24. She was the elder daughter of William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor and Mary Dahlgren Paul. Herbert and Pauline had three daughters:
- Phyllis Mary Spender-Clay was born on 4 October 1905, and married at the age of 27 on 6 February 1932 in Dormansland Sir Philip Bouverie Bowyer Nichols, KCMG MC, then aged 38, who was born on 7 September 1894 and died on 6 December 1962 in London at the age of 68. He was the younger son of John Bowyer Buchanan Nichols of Lawford Hall, Essex, and was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. They lived at Lawford Hall, Manningtree Essex, and he was buried at St Mary's, Lawford. She died 5 January 1972. They had two sons and two daughters.
- Rachel Pauline Spender-Clay was born on 19 January 1907, married at the age of 22 on 6 February 1929 in St James' Piccadilly to 27-year-old Hon. Sir David Bowes-Lyon, the youngest son of 14th Earl of Strathmore, and brother of the Queen Mother; he was born on 2 May 1902, died on 13 September 1961 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire at the age of 59 and was buried at St Paul's, Waldenbury. He was K.C.V.O., Deputy Lieutenant JP. She was JP Hertfordshire 1956. They had a son and a daughter.
- Sybil Gwendoline Spender-Clay was born on 25 March 1910 and died on 3 March 1912, 22 days before her 2nd birthday
Herbert was Deputy Lieutenant and J.P. for Surrey, Member of Parliament for Tonbridge, and a Charity Commissioner. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1929, and made CMG. They lived at Ford Manor, Lingfield, Surrey and also had a London house at 21 Hill Street. He died on 15 February 1937 and was buried at Dormansland, Surrey.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "T" (part 2)
- Hart′s Army list, 1903
- "No. 27470". The London Gazette. 2 September 1902. p. 5681.
- de:Philip Bouverie Bowyer Nichols
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Herbert Spender-Clay
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Alfred Paget Hedges
| Member of Parliament for Tunbridge
January 1910 – 1918
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Tonbridge
1918 – 1937