The University is located on an area known as Bailrigg, a hamlet within the town of Scotforth, which lies two miles south of Lancaster. The name Bailrigg has two possible meanings, it signifies either a living space or something that is adjacent to a ridge or boundary. “Bal” and “Balla” means an abode and “Bail” signifies a certain limit in a forest. The suffix “rigge” means ridge, or raised ground.
The vast majority of what became the campus was part of “Bailrigg Moor”, a rough grazing land that the farmers in Scotforth had common rights to, until 1809 when the site was improved.
Bigforth farm and the fields to the north-west of the site were already in existence at this time. The name “Bigforth” represents the old Norse “bygg-thveit” which translated into modern English means barley clearing. This would suggest that the farm originated in the period of Scandinavian colonization between the tenth and the twelfth centuries.