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Dreghorn, Ayrshire

Historical Description

DREGHORN, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, county of Ayr, 2 miles (E. by S.) from Irvine; containing 1222 inhabitants. This place anciently formed part of the property of the De Morvilles, constables of Scotland, whose ancestor appears to have obtained large possessions here in the reign of Alexander I., and from whose family it passed, with the heiress of William de Morville, to Ronald, Lord of Galloway. Ronald's grand-daughter, Helen, early in the thirteenth century married Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, who, in her right, became Constable of Scotland, and proprietor of the De Morville estates; and the lands were subsequently conveyed, by marriage with his daughters, co-heiresses, to William de Ferrars and Allan de la Zouch, ancestors of the present Marquess Townshend, and the Lords Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the county of Leicester. The estates, however, were soon after forfeited to the crown, from the adherence of those two noblemen to the interests of John Baliol; and the barony of Dreghorn was granted by Robert Bruce to Sir Alan Stewart, who was killed in the battle of Hallidown Hill, and whose descendants, afterwards Earls of Darnley and Lennox, retained possession of it till the year 1520. It then became the property of Hugh, first Earl of Eglinton, and his descendant is the present proprietor.

The PARISH is about eight miles in length, and varies from three-quarters of a mile to two miles in breadth. It is bounded on the west and north by the Annock water, on the east by the Gawreer burn, and on the south by the Irvine river. Dreghorn comprises 4477 acres, of which 1500 are arable, 2750 meadow and pasture, and about 120 woodland and plantations. The surface is level towards the sea, and rises in gentle undulations inland; the scenery throughout is pleasingly picturesque, and the banks of the Annock abound with natural beauty, heightened by several handsome villas and seats embosomed in thriving plantations. The soil is for the greater part a deep rich loam, and in other places intermixed with gravel; the chief crops are barley and wheat, with potatoes and turnips. The system of agriculture is in an advanced state, and the rotation plan of husbandry generally adopted; much of the land has been improved by draining. Great attention is bestowed on the management of dairy-farms; butter and Dunlop cheese are sent to the adjacent markets, and all due regard is paid to the improvement of the breed of live stock. The cows on the dairy-farms are the Ayrshire, and the sheep are mostly of the blackfaced and Cheviot kinds, with a few of the South Down breed recently introduced. Coal abounds in the neighbourhood, and is extensively worked, and freestone of excellent quality is found; limestone, also, is quarried in the north-east part of the parish. The annual value of real property in Dreghorn is £10,130. Annock Lodge is a handsome residence situated on the south bank of the Annock, in a tastefully ornamented demesne, enriched with thriving plantations; and Pierecton, Righouse, Cunningham Head, and Warrickhill are also good houses. The village is on the road from Kilmarnock to Irvine, and is irregularly built upon a gentle acclivity commanding a view of the sea; most of the houses are of ancient appearance, and the general aspect, from the number of old trees with which the buildings are interspersed, is cheerful and extremely pleasing. Great facility of intercourse is afforded by the lines of the Glasgow and Ayrshire railway company. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Irvine, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of Lady Montgomerie. The minister's stipend is about £250, with a manse, and a glebe of four acres and a half, valued at £3 an acre per annum. The church, situated in the village, is a substantial edifice, erected within the last seventy or eighty years, and adapted for a congregation of 430 persons. Dreghorn parochial school affords education to about 100 scholars; the master has a salary of £29. 18., with £50 fees, and a house and garden. There is also a school which has a small endowment in addition to the fees.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis