Archaeological work undertaken in the village from 2004 onwards has established that Dreghorn could be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the UK and that its goes back some 5 500 years.
Archaeological work undertaken in the village from 2004 onward has established that Dreghorn could be one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the UK and that it goes back some 5500 years.
One of the many features uncovered during the dig was the evidence that suggested the potential of quite a large monument, like a standing stone, or some kind of totem pole, set up towards the ce of the settlement.
Many medieval church locations often coincide with older Culdee church sites which themselves were built on earlier Druidic or pagan sites.
Around 400 AD, St. Ninian from Whithorn started spreading the Christian faith throughout Southern Scotland and again it is possible that some influence was felt here in what would have been a recognised settlement.
In the sixth century A.D. while the various tribes and races of Scotland were struggling to assert their dominance, St. Brendan of Clonfert in Ireland, one of Columba’s colleagues, is known to have exerted his Christian influence in the northern part of what is now Ayrshire. Kilbirnie is said to have been a foundation of St Brendan.
It is from a fellow monk of Brendan’s, Barrintus, however that we gain our earliest connection with Dreghorn. A source has suggested that relics of Barrintus were venerated here. Whether this means that an early church was established at that time or that the later settlement chose to adopt Barrintus as an object of veneration is open to conjecture, but we now know that a settlement did exist at that time.
The coming of the Norman influence in the twelfth century, bringing with them a degree of order and government, brought about the annexing of the existing Celtic Church and the bringing of organised religion under the establishment of the Church of Rome and its highly organised ecclesiastical system.
The establishment of Kilwinning Abbey around 1171 by Hugh de Morville saw Dreghorn as one of the fourteen parishes brought under its control. The lands of the church of Dreghorn would have been given to one of the monks appointed to have charge of the parish.