On the fall of Bacon in 1621 Williams, who had meantime ingratiated himself with the duke of Buckingham, was appointed lord keeper, and was at the same time made bishop of Lincoln, retaining also the deanery of Westminster.
As heir-apparent he collected a bodyguard, and studiously courting personal popularity by a pretended interest in the administration of kingly justice, ingratiated himself with the mass.
However, he soon ingratiated himself with Warwick, and on the 15th of September 1550 he was sworn one of the king's two secretaries.
The proscription of Cinna obliged him to flee to Spain; but after Cinna's death he passed into Africa, and thence to Italy, where he ingratiated himself with Sulla.
It is stated that he first ingratiated himself with the people by his liberal conduct when Polemarch, in which capacity he had to exact the fines imposed by the law.