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Lillian Spender (usually known as Mrs. John Kent Spender; 22 February 1835 – 4 May 1895) was an English novelist.

Lillian Spender
BornLillian Headland
(1835-02-22)22 February 1835
London, England
Died4 May 1895(1895-05-04) (aged 60)
EducationQueen's College, London
SpouseJohn Kent Spender (1858–1882)
ChildrenJ. A. Spender (1862–1942)
Harold Spender (1864–1926)
Hugh Frederick Spender (1873–1930)
1 other son
RelativesStephen Spender (grandson)


Early years and educationEdit

Lillian (nickname, Lily) Headland was born on 22 February 1835, and was the daughter of Edward Headland, a well-known physician of Portland Place, London. Her mother was the daughter of Ferdinand de Medina, a Spaniard. Spender was educated at Queen's College, Harley Street.[1]


In 1858, she married Mr. John Kent Spender, physician to the Mineral Water Hospital, Bath.[1]

After her marriage, Spender turned her attention to literature. She contributed to the London Quarterly Review, the English Woman's Journal, the Dublin University Review, the British Quarterly Review, and to a magazine called Meliora; but after 1869, she chiefly confined herself to novel-writing. She was active in educational and social work in Bath until her health failed.[1]

She died at Bath on 4 May 1895. Of Spender's eight children, seven survived her. Two of her sons, J. A. Spender and Harold Spender, were well-known London journalists.[1]

Selected worksEdit

  • Brothers-in-Law (1869)
  • Her Own Fault (1871)
  • Parted Lives (1873)
  • Jocelyn's Mistake (1875)
  • Mark Eylmer's Revenge (1876)
  • Both in the Wrong (1878)
  • Godwyn's Ordeal (1879)
  • Till Death Us Do Part (1881)
  • Gabrielle de Bourdaine (1882)
  • Mr. Nobody (1884)
  • The Recollections of a Country Doctor (1885)
  • Trust Me: A Novel (1886)
  • Her Brother's Keeper: A Novel (1887)
  • Kept Secret (1888)
  • Lady Hazelton's Confession (1890)
  • A Waking (1892)
  • A Strange Temptation (1893)
  • A Modern Quixote (1894)


Works cited
  • Carlyle, Edward Irving (1898). "Spender, Lily" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co.