He attended the village school there, and went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating Bachelor of Arts in 1790.
Magdalene was then beginning to be an evangelical stronghold. He took an ordinary degree. Having received holy orders, Overton became assistant curate to William Richardson of York, a leading evangelical.
He remained with Richardson until 1802, when he was appointed, through the influence of William Wilberforce, to the chancellor"s livings of Saint Crux and Saint Margaret"s in the city of New York
In politics Overton was a Tory and admirer of Pitt the younger. He took an active part in promoting the election of Wilberforce to parliament.
In 1792 Overton married Elizabeth Stodart (died 1827) of Reeth, near Hawes, in the Yorkshire dales, whose father was agent to the lairds of Arkendale. The sons all grew up to manhood, and were six feet and upwards in height.
Four of them—John, William, Thomas, and Charles—took holy orders.
Two were lawyers, and two were doctors.