A REGAL statue that has stood in Petersfield Square for two centuries may need extensive repairs after a limb came adrift.
Experts from Hampshire County Council were called in when an arm broke away from the torso of the monument.
The break could indicate wider damage, meaning the statue, which is a representation of King William III, may need a workshop restoration.
The county council is responsible for the 258-year-old lead statue, which has a bronze skeleton.
The statue depicting William of Orange, as the Dutch-born king was known, was cast in 1753 by John Cheere.
It is one of only four such pieces of the Protestant monarch in the UK – the others are in Hull, Brixham and Bristol.
The statue was last restored in 1960, and Petersfield historian David Jeffery said it may well be due another.
He said: ‘It is a symbol of Petersfield and as such I believe its very important its kept in good order and stays in the The Square.’
The statue was commissioned at a cost of £500 by Sir William Jolliffe, who died in 1749, and placed it front of his new house to mark his fervent Protestantism.
In 1812 the statue, modelled on the bronze of Marcus Aurelius (c200 AD) in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, was moved to The Square, but the Jolliffes retained ownership.
A spokeswoman for the county council said: ‘Due to natural ageing, the lead around the top of the statue’s raised right arm has split, causing it to drop down.
‘An assessment has established its core remains structurally sound. We are now exploring options around localised repair, or whether more far-reaching work may be required.’