King William III, who has been watching over Petersfield Square since 1790, will soon be sent for his eighth repair.

The statue of King William III, or William of Orange, is better known to locals as ‘King Billy’. 

King Billy has been watching over Petersfield Square since 1790 and has come to symbolise the town. But with the right arm detached, and a crack across the right ankle, Billy desperately needs to be returned to his former stately glory.

Preparations for the restoration of the statue, which stands in The Square in Petersfield, will start on Monday, July 10 when scaffolding will be erected to allow specialist contractors to remove the statue for repair.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Rob Humby, said: “It is important that we take care of Hampshire’s historical monuments to preserve our sense of place for generations to come.

"The lead statue of William III in Petersfield is a popular local landmark. Naturally, with centuries old structures there will be some damage over time due to environmental conditions such as the seasonal weather and, in more modern times, traffic emissions.

"I am pleased that the restoration work is now about to get underway.”

King Billy will be sent to London on July 13 to 14. 

Only the ‘human’ element of the statue is being taken away for repair. The horse section will remain in place on the plinth. 

The lead statue of William of Orange, in the costume of a Roman Senator, was commissioned by Sir William Jolliffe in 1750 and erected after his death in 1757 at Petersfield House, and later moved to the Square in Petersfield.

Since Petersfield Urban District Council bought William III for the town in 1911, it has been repaired on at least seven occasions. 

In September 1913, Petersfield residents held jumble sales and concerts to raise money to repair the statue. 

While the Square is owned by East Hampshire District Council, 'Billy', as a scheduled ancient monument, falls under the purview of Hampshire County Council. 

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer said: “King Billy will be dearly missed – no-one likes to look at an empty plinth. But we can look forward to William returning in September in a fully-restored condition.”