Sizar

Sizar

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At Trinity College
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

, Dublin
University of Dublin
The University of Dublin , corporately designated the Chancellor, Doctors and Masters of the University of Dublin , located in Dublin, Ireland, was effectively founded when in 1592 Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter for Trinity College, Dublin, as "the mother of a university" – this date making it...

 and the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, a sizar is a student who receives some form of assistance such as meals, lower fees or lodging during his or her period of study, in some cases in return for doing a defined job.

The word is thought to derive from the "sizes" or "sizings" (in turn a shortened form of "assize"), which were the specified portions of food and drink
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 made available at a fixed price at the college. One of the sizar's duties was, historically, to fetch the "sizes" for his colleagues.

According to Alumni Dublinenses from 1935, most students entered Trinity College, Dublin as 'Pensioners'; in other words, they paid a fixed sum annually. The other two categories were 'Sizars' and 'Fellow Commoners' (Socii Comitates). Sizars were "allowed free education in consideration of performing certain, at one time menial, duties"; Fellow Commoners paid double fees and enjoyed several privileges, including that of finishing the College course in three years instead of four. "Sizars were sons of poor parents, frequently the clergy." According to William Howitt
William Howitt
William Howitt , was an English author.He was born at Heanor, Derbyshire. His parents were Quakers, and he was educated at the Friends public school at Ackworth, Yorkshire. His younger brothers were Richard and Godrey whom he helped tutor. In 1814 he published a poem on the Influence of Nature and...

, writing in 1847 with reference to Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith was an Irish writer, poet and physician known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield , his pastoral poem The Deserted Village , and his plays The Good-Natur'd Man and She Stoops to Conquer...

:

Trinity College, Dublin, is a noble structure; and, with its spacious courts and extensive gardens, more fittingly deserving the name of parks, one would think a place where the years of studentship might — especially in the heart of such a city — be very agreeably spent. But Goldsmith entered there under circumstances that were irksome to him, and to add to the matter, he met with a brute in his tutor. The family income did not allow him to occupy a higher rank than that of a sizer, or poor scholar, and this was mortifying to his sensitive mind. The sizer wears a black gown of coarse stuff without sleeves, a plain black cloth cap without a tassel, and dines at the fellows' table after they have retired. It was at that period far worse; they wore red caps to distinguish them, and were compelled to perform derogatory offices; to sweep the courts in the morning, carry up the dishes from the kitchen to the fellows' table, and wait in the hall till they had dined. No wonder that a mind like that of Goldsmith's writhed under the degradation! He has recorded his own feelings and opinions on this custom: "Sure pride itself has dictated to the fellows of our colleges the absurd fashion of being attended at meals, and on other public occasions, by those poor men who, willing to be scholars, come in upon some charitable foundation. It implies a contradiction, for men to be at once learning the liberal arts and at the same time treated as slaves; at once studying freedom and practising servitude." A spirited fellow at length caused the abolition of the practice of the sizers acting as waiters, and that, too, on grand occasions before the public, by flinging the dish he was carrying on Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity...

, at the head of a citizen in the crowd, assembled to witness the scene, who made some jeering remarks on the office he had to perform.


Sizarships are still awarded at Dublin, to new entrants of limited means who have shown merit in their school-leaving examinations. They receive their evening meal (Commons) free of charge, normally for the first two years of an undergraduate course. The word sizarship is also still used elsewhere to refer to monetary awards made to members of a student body willing to take on defined jobs with responsibility; according to John Stillwell
John Stillwell
John Stillwell is an Australian mathematician on the faculties of the University of San Francisco and Monash University.He was born in Melbourne, Australia and lived there until he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his doctorate. He received his PhD from MIT in 1970, working...

, "Sizars had to earn their keep as servants to the wealthier students [...]". Churchill College, Cambridge
Churchill College, Cambridge
Churchill College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.In 1958, a Trust was established with Sir Winston Churchill as its Chairman of Trustees, to build and endow a college for 60 fellows and 540 Students as a national and Commonwealth memorial to Winston Churchill; its...

 offers three sizarships per year, with the recipients being expected to promote music, theatre and the visual arts in the life of the college.

Similarly, a subsizar was a student
Student
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...

 who did not have to pay tuition fees, but had to help in the kitchen and household of his college. Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 matriculated
Matriculation
Matriculation, in the broadest sense, means to be registered or added to a list, from the Latin matricula – little list. In Scottish heraldry, for instance, a matriculation is a registration of armorial bearings...

 as subsizar at Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

.