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Not to be confused with Dreghorn Barracks.

Dreghorn, North Ayrshire is a small, quiet village 2 miles east of Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland. This parish comprehends the old parishes of Dreghorn and Perceton, which were united in 1668.[1] The whole of the parish was historically the property of the De Morvilles, who were Constables of Scotland and Lords of Cunninghame.[2] Nowadays Dreghorn operates as a fully functioning local village, with local shops such as butchers, bakehouses and a local post office. A new primary school has been built in the area.[when?] Dreghorn maintains a strong sense of community, competing in many team events through the organisation of the local pubs.


Dreghorn is the birthplace of John Boyd Dunlop, inventor of the pneumatic tyre. Dreghorn is believed to be Britain's oldest continuously inhabited village after the remains of an ancient settlement were uncovered by builders,[3] including the remnants of a 5,500-year-old well (one of only five to be found in Scotland) dating back to around 3500BC. Other Neolithic villages have been abandoned in Scotland, e.g. Skara Brae, but Dreghorn is thought to be the only village in Britain with a continual unbroken residence.[4] During the development of new housing, a large prehistoric site was discovered to the north of the current Main Street, suggesting that there has been a settlement in Dreghorn for at least 5,000 years[5] making it the oldest continuously inhabited village in the United Kingdom.

Dreghorn Parish Church remains the focal point of Dreghorn today.
A memorial plaque to John Boyd Dunlop at Dreghorn village hall.

The name Dreghorn may derive from hunting terminology and speaks a little bit about the character of the typical Dreghorn hunter. After a good long hunting session would follow a good long drinking session, where they would fill their hunting horns with ale and drink even the dregs! Another story is that it's an old Scots name meaning 'farm at the bog',[6] or as in early charters, the name was written Dregern; and it probably derived from the British Tre-quern, which signifies the town or habitation by the swamp, or by the alder-trees.[7]

Maid Morville[edit]

Maid Morville's mound was located to the left of the bridge over the Irvine, commemorating the tragic drowning of a member of this family who were the overlords of the baillerie of Cunninghame. It was destroyed by the earthworks of the expressway. A 'Maid Morville Avenue' still exists to commemorate the event. Locally the mound was known as 'Marble Hill', a corruption of 'Morville's Hill'. There is also a 'Marble Avenue' nearby.

Railway Station[edit]

Dreghorn Station, at the foot of Station Brae by the River Annick, provided access to rail services between Irvine and Kilmarnock. It closed in 1964 and the railway is now a public footpath and woodland.

As the location for the local secondary school, Dreghorn is a fairly busy village given its size. The school itself educates around 1,200 pupils with many local suppliers benefiting from the passing trade. The local schools also provide artificial football parks which are always busy providing coverage to footballing fans in the surrounding area.

Road Bridge which replaced a fording point of the river at the entrance point of Dreghorn coming from Drybridge.

The Churches[edit]

The Church of Scotland[edit]

The unusual octagonal Kirk of Dreghorn

The village boasts a rather unusual parish church, now called Dreghorn and Springside Parish Church (formerly Dreghorn and Perceton). It is built in the shape of an octagon and is often referred to the 'Thrup'ny Bit' after the pre-decimal three penny coin.[8] The building, completed in 1780, was sponsored by one of the Earls of Eglinton who brought the idea for the design back from the Continent. He and his family are buried in the church's graveyard. The session house at the gate of the church was previously the church's mortuary.[9] St. James's church in Teignmouth, South Devon is another example of this rare church design.

There were at least two other Christian places of worship on this site, and at the uniting of the Parishes of Dreghorn and Perceton, the church owned the land surrounding the church (called 'The Glebe'). A current circular cul-de-sac called The Glebe commemorates this fact.[10]

The second Church of Scotland building (Perceton and Dreghorn Parish Church), initially Perceton and Dreghorn Free Church, was formed soon after the Disruption. With the liberal assistance of Muir Macredie of Perceton, church and manse were built near his house, before February 1844, but was demolished and shipped to Japan after the formation of the new Dreghorn and Springside Parish which united Dreghorn and Perceton Parish and Perceton and Dreghorn Parish. The Muir Hall, built closer to the centre of Dreghorn but now demolished, was the church halls.[11]

Congregational Church[edit]

Opposite the village's primary school stood the Dreghorn Congregational Church.

Ebenezer Hall[edit]

This Gospel Hall is situated next to the Dreghorn Primary School on Main Street and is now the only non-conformist church in Dreghorn.


Dreghorn's historical main industries were farming and coal mining. All of the coal mines around Dreghorn were closed by the early 1980s. Dreghorn is still surrounded on two sides by farm land. The new communities of Broomlands and Bourtreehill cover the sites of some former mines. Given the economic downturn in the 1980s many of Dreghorn's inhabitants now travel to elsewhere in the west of Scotland in order to obtain work.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. 1854. VOL.I. (AAN-GORDON) by Rev. John Marius Wilson. pp.397-398. http://archive.org/stream/imperialgazettee01wils#page/397/mode/1up
  2. ^ "Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan
  3. ^ "Stone Pages Archaeo News: Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited village". Stonepages.com. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  4. ^ The Last Frontier: The Roman Invasions of Scotland (2005) Tempus, University of Michigan
  5. ^ "Stone Pages Archaeo News: Prehistoric finds at a housing site in Scotland". Stonepages.com. 2004-04-19. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  6. ^ "The last word on what's in a name - The Scotsman". News.scotsman.com. 2002-11-27. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  7. ^ Fullarton's guide to Ayrshire
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: IRVINE * DREGHORN CHURCH". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  10. ^ The Statistical Account of Scotland, Volume 4 by Sir John Sinclair, Bart.
  11. ^ Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°36′26″N 4°37′01″W / 55.60722°N 4.61694°W / 55.60722; -4.61694