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William Overton (bishop)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Overton (c. 1525– 9 April 1609) was an English bishop.


He was born in Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England.

He became a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1551, and rector of Balcombe (Sussex) and vicar of Eccleshall (Staffordshire) in 1553.[1] He was also made a prebendary at Chichester, Winchester, and Salisbury. He became Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry in 1580, and remained in post until his death in 1609.[2]


He was responsible for developing glassmaking in Staffordshire, importing artisans of French origin and supplying firewood from the episcopal estates.[3][4] The glassworks he established near Eccleshall continued in production after his death, but were affected by legislation which forbade the use of wood for the furnace.

Personal life

His first wife was Margaret Barlow (1533 - 1601), daughter of Bishop William Barlow and Agatha (Wellesbourne) Barlow, and they had Susan (Barlow) Playsted and Valentine Barlow (1565 - 1646).[citation needed]


While he was still alive, he made arrangements for his tomb which survives. It is in Holy Trinity Church in Eccleshall, a small town where the bishops had a residence, Eccleshall Castle.[5]

Overton was interested in increasing the income of his diocese, which had been affected by the price revolution, but he had little success in improving the overall finances.

Further reading

  • Russell Fox (1982), William Overton and Glassmaking in Buriton


  1. ^ Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ "Bishops | British History Online". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  3. ^ O'Day, R. (2004, September 23). Overton, William (1524/5?–1609), bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Retrieved 4 May. 2019, from (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall". 3 December 1975. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Bentham
Bishop of Lichfield
Succeeded by
George Abbot
This page was last edited on 3 March 2021, at 21:03
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