Daily Archives: November 20, 2011

King Billy

King William 111 ~ Bronze
– Ed Barton

For once I can say I met the sculptor.  My path crossed with Ed’s over a few years, long before I had a computer. At one stage we served on the same committee.  Back then I was aware of his ‘King Billy’ sculpture, but not about the Emigrants, featured back in September.  I have been unsuccessful in finding links to a website or to other works.

This statue was erected by Carrickfergus Borough Council to celebrate the tercentenary of the landing of King William 111.

William was born in November 1650 the only child of Prince William II, the Stadtholder of Holland. His mother, Mary Stuart, was the daughter of Charles I of England. This meant that William had a bloodline to the Stuarts. William married Mary, daughter of James II, in 1677. The marriage was a political union but, we are told the couple became inseparable as their marriage progressed.

From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland. By coincidence, his regnal number (III) was the same for both the House of Orange and England. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as “King Billy”

William was thin, weak and solemn, with a Roman eagle nose, and piercing eyes. His constitution had been undermined by a severe attack of smallpox in early manhood, and his chronic asthma gave him a constant deep cough.

On February 21st 1702, William was riding in Richmond Park when his horse stumbled on a mole hill. The king was thrown from his horse and he broke a collar bone. His weakened body could not take the shock and William died at Kensington Palace in March 8th 1702.