Kilwinning (Kilwinin in 1202) in North Ayrshire is a Gaelic name meaning ‘the church of Saint Finnan’ (Gaelic Finnean). Cill is an old Gaelic word, no longer in use, which derives from Latin cella ‘a monk’s cell’ which also gives us English cell. It appears many times in Scotland in names beginning with Kil-. The name Finnean is a diminutive form, relating to Findbarr of Moyville who died in 579 AD. Within Kilwinning itself is St Winning’s Well. The form with -w- shows British or pre-Gaelic influence.
The Gaelic form of the name was recorded on Arran when the language was still spoken there (up until the 1960s). The form literally means ‘the church of your Finnan’, where the D’ represents ‘your’, a way to denote saints in some Gaelic place-names.
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