John Overall 1561-1619

From Book Owners Online

John OVERALL 1561-1619

Biographical Note

Born at Hadleigh, Suffolk, son of George Overall. BA Trinity College, Cambridge 1579, minor fellow 1581, MA and major fellow 1582, praelector for Greek 1586, junior dean 1591. Vicar of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire 1591-92, of Epping, Essex 1592; rector of Algarkirk, Lincolnshire 1602-05, of Clothall, Hertfordshire 1603-15, of Therfield 1605-14. Regius professor of divinity at Cambridge, 1595-1607; Dean of St Paul’s 1602. Overall participated in the Hampton Court conference in 1604 and was subsequently involved in revision of the Anglican liturgy and canons, as well as being one of the translators of the Old Testament for the authorised Version of the Bible. Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry 1614, translated to Norwich 1618. Overall was one of the early senior figures in the English church to move away from Calvinism towards what became Arminianism; he was questioning some aspects of predestination in Cambridge in the 1590s and again at the Hampton Court conference. He was proposed by the remonstrants as a representative of their cause at the Synod of Dort, but did not attend.


The extent and fate of Overall’s library is unknown, though he is likely to have had a significant one. John Cosin, who benefited from Overall’s patronage at the start of his career, is described in some sources as Overall’s librarian, though secretary is probably a more accurate term. A number of books with Overall’s inscription survive in various libraries. Examples: Pembroke College, Cambridge 7.7.23; Peterhouse, Cambridge L.3.27, K.7.18; Durham Cathedral Library H.III.4; Westminster Abbey M.2.16, V.2.18.

Characteristic Markings

One of Overall's books in Peterhouse has the motto “Virtute non vi” as well as his name.