County college was the only college to be named after its benefactors, the County Council, who donated a generous sum of money towards its construction and promised to donate £50,000 a year for 10 years towards the university’s running costs.
A commemorative plaque situated outside the college office remembers their generous contribution. It was decided that County college should be based upon the old Oxonian idea of building colleges around a quadrangle because it adds to the collegiate nature of the university and expresses the idea of an individual community. The only way that a square could be incorporated into County was around an old oak tree that had been spared as a sapling by an agricultural labourer over 200 years ago. This original college building is now known as County Main. The building was erected around the tree without damage to its roots. The College is very conscious of its responsibility for the health of the tree and beneath its shade are two bench seats erected in memory of two former College Officers.
The college residences were expanded in 1978 with the construction of County West. In 2004 the college further expanded, after being granted buildings that had been vacated by Cartmel College. These buildings have since been renovated and named County South and now house a relocated college bar. In October 2006 County South expanded with the opening of three large residence houses built on the site of demolished Cartmel College residence blocks.County West was demolished in August 2007 and in January 2008 the new construction of the 'Townhouses' on County Field was completed. Following this expansion, the existing 'County Main' block was also renovated to include modern standard accommodation on the top two floors and classrooms and offices on the bottom two floors.