1718 - Statue of King William III

Gilded statue of King William III. Richard Norton, who was the grandson and heir of Colonel Richard Norton (he was a supporter and friend of Oliver Cromwell), presented the Commissioner of the Dockyard (Sir William Townsend) with this fine statue of King William III

(William of Orange) sculptured in a classical style. It was cast in lead to the design of John Van Nost the Elder of London and finished with a covering of double gold leaf; mounted on a polished white marble plinth The Commissioner set up the statue in front of the new terrace (Long Row) in the middle of the Offal Ground now the site of Victory Building and surrounded it with an ornamental wrought-iron railing with Royal Crowns on the corners.

R.S.Horne’s, LRIBA, History of the statue, relates that the Terrace became Long Row after Short Row was built in 1786.

The statue has the inscription of:


Optime Reg

Which roughly translated from Latin means: To William III

…. To the most Excellent King.

On the base can be seen “Riccardo Norton humillime DD” or “Richard Norton most humbly makes this Gift”. The Roman numerical date often causes some confusion as it is written in the old way of: CIODCCXVIII. To-day we would translate this as MDCCXVIII or 1718.