Some Early British Ornithologists and their Works. V. Robert Plot (1641Ñ1696) And Some Early County Natural Histories

Published on 01 July 1908 in Main articles

IN the year 1661, Joshua Childrey (1623–1670), antiquary, schoolmaster, and divine, published in London a small duodecimo work entitled ” Britannia Baconia: / or, the Natural / Rarities / of / England, Scotland, & Wales.” This book, although of no particular value in itself, being merely a brief and somewhat imperfect compilation, was nevertheless destined to be of some considerable influence on the literature of natural history in this country. For, according to Wood’s ” Athense Oxonienses” (p. 339), it inspired Robert Plot (1641–1696), the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, with the idea of writing the ” Natural History of Oxfordshire,” which appeared in 1677, and which was followed in 1686 by a ” Natural History of Staffordshire,” the work of the same author ; who is said to have also contemplated similar histories of Middlesex and Kent. These two works of Robert Plot’s also proved in their turn to be the forerunners of a numerous series of county natural histories by different writers. The full title of the ” Natural History of Oxfordshire” is as follows :– ” The / Natural History / of / Oxford-shire, / being an Essay toward the Natural History / of / England. / By R.P., LL.D. / [quotation from Arat. in Phsenom.] / [engraving] Printed at the Theater in Oxford, and are to be had there: / And in London at Mr. S. Millers, at the Star near the / West-end ofSt. Pauls Church-yard. 1677. / The price in sheets

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