Student life in Lancaster:

Pendle College

A very social college at Lancaster University with a popular live music scene and musical society involvements.



Situated at the south end of Bailrigg campus, Pendle college is an incredibly social college, known for its great emphasis on music. The college was named after the famous Pendle witch trials in the early 17th century, when 13 women were tried for crimes of being a witch! There’s also lots more information around Lancaster, particularly at the Castle, on this famous event in our local history. Pendle’s accommodation blocks surround a grassy quad space, often used for social events, with the Pendle Rooms social centre on one side. The college also benefit from their own bar, and regularly hold quiz nights, music events and a whole host of sporting and social events throughout the year.


Founded in 1974, Pendle college is one of the more recent colleges to be constructed at Lancaster University, as the 7th college on campus. Pendle was named after the historic area of Pendle, just south of Lancaster, associated with great legend and folklore and probably more well known for the Pendle witched the trials that took place at Lancaster Castle in 1612. The college logo features the Pendle Witch riding on a broomstick, against a yellow background. New accommodation blocks were constructed in 1994 and originally no one could decide whether Grizedale or Pendle should be offered the new blocks. Legend has it, that the decision was resolved through a drinking game which was won by Grizedale, who chose to stay and take on the existing Pendle blocks as part of their own. Pendle now reside in the new accommodation blocks, overlooking beautiful woodland and the villages of Galgate and Ellel.


The Pendle Name

Named after the area of Pendle in Lancashire, the college have close ties to the area and feature a Pendle Witch on their logo as symbolic of the history of Pendle. In the early 17th century, a series of strange and unexplained events led to the arrest and trials of 13 women for practicing witchcraft. This was a time of religious persecution and superstition, and witchcraft was under huge scrutiny following the catholic gunpowder plot on King James I, who subsequently brought in the death penalty for anyone suspected of witchcraft. Two Pendle families offered medicines and cures in the Pendle area, led by the two old matriarchs, Demdike and Chattox. It is believed that a pedlar named John Law would not give Demdike’s granddaughter pins needed for a spell, so Alison cursed John and moments later collapsed to the ground. John’s son took Alison to the local magistrate, who confesses whilst also incriminating Demdike and their rival, Chaddox. They made the mistake of exaggerating their own stories to elevate their local reputation, including meeting the devil himself. On April 3rd, 1612, they are taken to Lancaster Castle for trials of witchcraft. It is later found that other members attended a Good Friday meeting, with the intent of freeing the prisoners and blowing up the castle. Nine-year-old Jennet Device identified the attendees in court, including her own mother. After just 3 days, they were all sentenced to be hanged, although Demdike passed away before the trial whilst in prison.


Pendle college offer a wide variety of sports and social events, with several sports teams, as well as taking part in many inter-college tournaments and events. Best known as the ‘music college’ Pendle take pride in having fabulous acoustics in the bar, their very own performance stage and the longest running live music night on campus. The college are also very much involved with the musical societies on campus, many of which were founded by the Pendle college members themselves. Pendle college have a wide variety of tournaments and challenges throughout the year, as well as many social and sports events. Pendle have successfully won many of the annual sustainability challenges, competing against the other colleges, which is a great event to get involved in. The college also take part in the annual University Challenge style quiz, the Intercollegiate Debating Competition, along with the Warriors and Carter Shield. There is always something to get involved in, and the wide variety of events mean, there is something to suit everyone. One of the most unique events of the college is the famous Pendle Cup, which see all the sports teams compete against one another across different sports, which is open to both team members and non-team members. Sports teams in the college include football, netball and table tennis as well as bar sports. Pendle are also proud to have won the prestigious George Wyatt Cup for 5 consecutive years, which includes bar sports such as darts, pool and dominoes with colleges taking it in turns to host in their respective bars.


James May is one of the most famous alumni to have graduated from Pendle College. James graduated in Music and went on to become a journalist and presenter on BBC’s Top Gear and later the Grand Tour. Ranvir Singh is also one of Pendle’s notable alumni, also a journalist and TV presenter on BBC North West Tonight.

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