A new exhibition has opened showcasing the swords and weaponry of famous borderland characters of the past.

The Sword in the Story has been inspired by a mystery sword which may have belonged to infamous 16th century Border Reiver Kinmont Willie.

The exhibition at Dumfries Museum also boasts a selection of swords associated with famous characters and different periods and cultures.

Artifacts include a Bronze Age sword found near Lockerbie, a medieval sword found near Lochar Moss, and others belonging to Robert Burns and Artic explorer Sir John Ross.

The exhibition will visit Annan, and possibly Langholm, too.

Reiver Willie Armstrong of Kinmont regularly led bands of men into Cumbria from the Borders during the 16th century's days of lawlessness.

He was notorious for his bloodthirsty raids.

He banded together members of his own Armstrong clan with other families to plunder cattle, leaving death and destruction in his wake.

When he was arrested and dragged to Carlisle Castle, his capture was deemed unlawful because it had taken place on a day of truce on the Scottish-English border.

Appeals for his release were denied and the Bold Buccleuch gathered a band of men and sprang Willie from jail.

Two years ago a one-metre long sword blade was discovered during an audit of Annan Museum's collection. It was partially corroded and its hilt was missing.

Faded handwriting on the attached label hinted of an association with Kinmont Willie.

Now Dr Valentina Bold is researching the sword to find out how it came to be in the collection and has secured funding from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for her work.

Dr Bold said: "We know Kinmont Willie best through the reiving ballad which describes his capture and jailbreak from Carlisle Castle. The ballad was first written down by Sir Walter Scott in 1802.

"I have delved into the papers written at the time of Willie’s capture and he really was a nasty piece of work. I will continue my research to see whether we can find evidence for a sword, belonging to Willie, passing down from the 16th century to end up in the museum collection."

Broadcaster Fiona Armstrong, who is Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries, officially opened the exhibition last Friday.

Dr Bold will give a Royal Society of Edinburgh lecture at Dumfries Museum on May 11.