William was educated at Street John"s College, Cambridge, gaining his Bachelor in 1532.
He was elected a Fellow of Street John"s College in 1535, and gained his Master of Arts in 1546. He received a Bachelor's Degree degree during the period 1544-1546. In 1547, he was elected Master of Street John"s College, and also became a Doctor of Divinity.
In 1551, he was appointed Master of Trinity College.
Following the accession of Mary I in 1553, he lost all his former positions. John Christopherson was appointed in his stead to the Mastership of Trinity.
When Elizabeth I of England acceded in 1558, he was appointed Provost of Eton College, and re-appointed as Master of Trinity College. He was Lord High Almoner from 1558–1561 and helped revise the liturgy of Edward VI. He was appointed Dean of Westminster on 30 June 1560 but died the following year.
He was buried in Street Benedict"s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, where his tomb and small brass figure can still be seen.