He went up to St John's College, Cambridge in 1866 and graduated senior wrangler in 1870: he was then elected to a college fellowship. He was appointed University Lecturer in Mathematics in 1888. He collected early mathematical books and printed music, donating his collections to his college and university. His presentation of a collection of music books and manuscripts to the Fitzwilliam Museum stimulated the formation of the Music Faculty at Cambridge University.
- Anna Pensaert, "The Pendlebury Library of Music", Cambridge University Libraries Information Bulletin (n.s.) 51 (Lent 2006) 
- Richard Pendelbury at St John's College Library
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