Plot was born in 1640 near Sittingbourne, Kent, where his family
had been established since the fifteenth century.
He came up to Oxford (Magdalen Hall) in 1658, taking a BA
in 1661 and an MA in 1664.
- He stayed
on at Magdalen Hall (the forerunner of Magdalen College) as Dean
and Vice-Principal, teaching and preparing for higher qualifications.
- 'Mr Plott'
of Magdalen Hall paid poll tax of one shilling in March 1667.
It was in this year that he followed a course in practical chemistry;
his tutors included Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke.
He gained his BCL and DCL (cum laude) in 1671.
From around 1670 he planned a survey of Britain 'in search
of natural and artificial curiosities, knowledge of which could
improve the pleasure, the knowledge and the commerce of man'.
winning financial support, he travelled for almost two years
between 1674 and 1676.
- The success of The Natural History of Oxford-shire
(1677; reprinted 1972) strengthened his reputation
as an antiquary and natural philosopher. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in the same year, and the
first Keeper of
The Ashmolean Museum and first Professor
of Chemistry at the University of Oxford in 1683. Plot resigned these
posts in 1689. During his tenure he wrote The
Natural History of Stafford-shire (1686; reprinted 1973).
- In August
1690, at the age of 49, he married Rebecca Burman, and settled
on his family estate in Kent. They had two sons.
- He died
on 30 April 1696 from complications arising from urinary calculi
(kidney and bladder stones). Rebecca raised a memorial to him
in the parish church at Borden.