During the Spanish times, a settlement was a place where there were about 200 families. Around this area, there were two settlements, San Vicente de Balanac and San Guillermo de Dalangdang. San Vicente de Balanac was along the coast and during summer, when the sea was calm and perfect for sailing, pirates would come and plunder settlement, taking along with them the women and children leaving behind them a trail of blood. San Guillermo de Dalangdang, however was at the foot of the Cordillera mountains, and during summer, when the fire trees were in bloom, the populace was attacked by headhunters who saw in the red flowers the fire trees as a sign of the gods asking for human offering.
In 1759, an Augustinian priest, Fr. Jose Torres convinced the two settlements to come together to a place not so near the sea and not so near the mountains so they will not be plagued by their annual problems. They chose the area called Pindangan, meaning, a place where they dry fish, and this place, they built a church with San Guillermo, the Hermit, as the patron saint. In 1765, the newly assigned priest, however, suggested to the inhabitants that they replace the name Pindangan, toSan Fernando, after the Catholic King ofSpain, retaining San Guillermo as their patron saint. The name of the parish priest was Fr. Fernando Rey, Rey being the Spanish word for King. This was also the time of Diego Silang, as know, Silang would travel to and fromManilaon his white horse and was killed onMay 28, 1763. When an earthquake destroyed the church at Pindangan, renamedSan Fernando, the parish priest decided not to rebuild in the same place because during the rainy season, the church would get flooded. There were two other sites where the church was transferred until it found its present place, and it is now called the Cathedral of St. William the Hermit, of the Diocese of San Fernando, La Union.