A controversial statue of William Marshal is set to be unveiled in Pembroke after a three-year project to erect it - despite criticism from some that he was a medieval oppressor of Wales.

Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146-1219) was an Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman, who served five English kings - Henry II, his sons the "Young King" Henry, Richard I, and John, and finally John's son Henry III.

Knighted in 1166, he became the de facto Earl of Pembroke through his marriage to Isabel de Clare, though the title of Earl would not be officially granted until 1199 during the second creation of the Pembroke Earldom.

In 1216, he was appointed protector for the nine-year-old Henry III, and regent of the kingdom.

For some, however, he is seen as 'an oppressor' of the native Welsh people.

One person, who did not want to be named, wrote to the Western Telegraph: “Marshal’s forces committed atrocities (and he) was involved in the eventual conquest of, and subjugation of Wales and the Welsh people.

“Many people will surely question whether it is appropriate to honour this individual, when today, he may well be accused of being a war criminal.”

Jason Evans posted on Twitter: “Why are we allowing this monstrosity of a statue to be erected?

“Where else in the world would a statue to an oppressor be accepted?”

A spokesperson from Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society said: “We’ve ran a hugely positive campaign over the last three years, and now we’ve had all this (negativity) in the past few weeks, and it’s depressing actually.

“We’re lucky we’ve got a connection to William Marshal. He is such an admirable character. He saved Magna Carta and brought peace to this country.

“After King John died, William was overwhelmingly asked to become Regent because he was so well respected and such a great statesman, and at age 70 he led the Royal Army up to Lincoln and defeated the French invasion.

“If it wasn’t for him, this country would have gone under the French.

“He was such a great character, and to have all this rubbish; I never thought there would be any controversy about him.”

The statue is set to be unveiled on Saturday, May 7 when, at 2pm on Monkton Bridge, HM Deputy Lord Lieutenant Meurig Raymond CBE DL will unveil the life-sized bronze statue.

A community celebration will then take place in Pembroke Castle, which will see marquees, stalls, entertainment, music and activities for all after the statue’s unveiling.