Preston, Sir William (d. 1532), 2nd Viscount Gormanston , landowner, was the son of Robert Preston (qv), 1st Viscount Gormanston, and his wife Janet (Genet), daughter of Sir Richard Molyneux of Sefton, Lancashire, England. His father, who was created a viscount in 1478, served as deputy lieutenant of Ireland in 1492–3. When he was summoned to England by Henry VII in November 1493, William served as deputy until his return in February 1494. Soon after (10 March 1494), William was appointed deputy treasurer, a post he held only until the following September, when Edward Poynings (qv) was appointed deputy. On his father's death (1503), William succeeded to the family estate at Stamullin, Co. Meath, a short distance from Gormanston, with which his family had been connected since the fourteenth century. He also held other lands in Co. Dublin, Co. Louth, and Co. Kildare. On 19 August 1504 he took part in the battle at Knockdoe, Co. Galway, when the lord deputy, Gerald FitzGerald (qv), 8th earl of Kildare, defeated Uilleag Burke (qv), lord of Clanricard. Sir William is reported to have argued against the engagement in a preliminary council of war, but in the battle itself he distinguished himself in command of one half of the archers. After the victory, according to a story recorded in the Book of Howth, he suggested to Kildare that he finish what he had started that day by killing the Gaelic Irish troops that had fought alongside them. Eleven years later Sir William served as lord justice while Gerald (Gearóid Óg) FitzGerald (qv), 9th earl of Kildare, was at court (a.14 May–a.20 September 1515).
Sir William married first (date unknown) Ann, daughter of Sir Robert Burnell of Ballgriffin, Co. Dublin, with whom he had three sons – Jenico, his heir and subsequently 3rd viscount, Christopher, and Richard – and two daughters, Catherine and Margaret. He married secondly (a.3 February 1508) Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas (Henry) Dowdall, of Newtown, and Termonfeckin, Co. Louth, with whom he had two sons, Robert and James, and two daughters, Mary and Anne. In 1508 he established a trust to ensure the financial security of his second wife, Eleanor, and his children. Sir William died on 21 September 1532, and was buried at Stamullin.