A demyship is historically a form of scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford. Oscar Wilde, Lewis Gielgud, Lord Denning, and T. E. Lawrence were famous recipients. It is derived from demi-socii or half-fellows (being historically entitled to half the allowance awarded to Fellows). Recipients (known as demies, pronounced to rhyme with "surmise") are still admitted to the College's Foundation (in increased numbers, following recent changes to the system of scholarships) and are entitled to attend certain ceremonies and dinners. Recent demies include the historian Niall Ferguson, Kenneth Tynan and George Osborne.
When the College of St Mary Magdalen was founded in the reign of King Henry VI by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, the Founder ordained that in addition to forty senior scholars, or Fellows, there should be thirty poor scholars, commonly called Demies, of good morals and dispositions fully equipped for study. (Compare "postmasters" at Merton College, Oxford).
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