The Collectors: Robert Plot (1640-1696)

Robert Plot was born in December 1640 at Sutton Barne, his families home in Borden, Kent. He attended Wye Free School and Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 1661. This was followed by an MA in 1664 and a BCL and DCL in 1671. He had long been interested in the study of natural history and antiquities by this time, having already published Enquiries to be propounded in my travels through England and Wales, under seven headings, Heaven and Air, Waters, Earths, Stones, Metals, Plans and Husbandry. He intended to survey the whole country but only completed Oxfordshire and Staffordshire. The first edition of The Natural History of Oxford-shire was published in 1677. Elias Ashmole decided Oxford would be the best repository for the collections and pursuaded the University to build a museum for this purpose. The new building was sited in Broad Street with a museum display on the top floor, a School of Natural History at ground level and a chemistry laboratory in the basement. Plot was appointed the first Keeper of the new Ashmolean Museum and Professor of Chemistry in 1683. He achieved extremely high curatorial standards regarding the museum collection, as well as teaching several times a week in the chemistry department. He also started writing another book The Natural History of Stafford-shire which was published in 1686. Plot left the museum and his post as Professor of Chemistry in 1690, on the grounds of not being paid enough salary. He married Rebecca Burman and they went to live at Sutton Barne. Robert Plot died in 1696 after suffering from a urinary complaint which he had had for about a year, and was buried in Borden Churchyard.

Plot collected all these objects from Staffordshire

Robert PlotRobert Plot

copper alloy cutting blade
Copper alloy blade (AN NC400)

barbed flint arrowhead
Barbed flint arrowhead (AN1958.429)

copper alloy axe
Copper alloy axe (AN NC337)
copper alloy axe
Copper alloy axe (AN NC338)

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