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Puzzle over historic sword

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Puzzle over historic sword

A MYSTERY sword that may have belonged to the infamous 16th century border reiver Kinmont Willie Armstrong is to be the focus of a new exhibition.

The Sword in the Story display opens at Dumfries Museum today and centres on the historic weapon.
Museum staff are working with independent scholar Dr Valentina Bold, and a host of experts, to research the sword and find out more about how it came to be in the museum collection.
The museum is also exhibiting a selection of swords associated with famous local characters and with different eras and cultures. These include a bronze age sword found near Lockerbie, a medieval sword found in the Lochar Moss and others that belonged to the poet Robert Burns and arctic explorer Sir John Ross.
Dr Bold said: “We know Kinmont Willie best through the reiving ballad that describes his capture and jailbreak from Carlisle Castle. The ballad was first written down by Sir Walter Scott in 1802 but this was probably a very romanticised version of events.
“I have been delving into the papers written at the time of Willie’s capture and he really was a nasty piece of work! I will be continuing my research to see if we can find evidence for a sword, belonging to Willie, passing down from the 16th century to end up in the museum collection.”
She will be giving a Royal Society of Edinburgh outreach lecture at the museum on Thursday May 11. Entry is free.

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