Turnings (See map) is a townland and historic site on the banks of the Morrell River. The origin of the placename is unclear. Some local fields around the house bear Irish names: the rocky field facing the hall-door is called Clocheraun; to the south are Parkanoss, or Parkanaughy, and Cloonavoy, to the north is Gortshannick.” Where the Turnings Road joins the Sallins Road is a stretch of it called Crookaun, and a gate known as the Gallows Gate.
Calendar Rolls and Historical Documents
In the Co Kildare (Clane) Inquisition, No. 5 of Charles II the townland goes by the name of Surning, as well as Turning and Twinings. In 1406 the custody of the lands in the town of Surnyng was granted by the king to Thomas Hall, who on the 18th June 1422, was appointed Sheriff of the County Kildare. In the 16th century it formed a part of the Manor of Whitechurch, which belonged to the Viscounts Gormanston. As early as 1508 William Preston, 2nd Viscount Gormanston, enfifed “Archdeacon Robert Sutton and Thomas Cornwalshe, Vicar of Stamullen, in the Manor of Whitechurch, alias Tullaghtipper, containing the towns and lands of le Turnyng, alias Surnyng, Clonyng, Killenmore, Kilbregagho, Killussy, Rathmore, near Clane, Collenblakeston, Ardress, Cloghle, Osbertiston, and Clanwhiche which were bold of the King.”
William died on the 22nd September, 1582, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Jenico Preston, 3rd Viscount, who leased the Manor of Whitechurch, on the 16th February, 1560, to Patrick Sarsfield, merchant, of Dublin, and brother of Sir William Sarsfield, Knight, of Lucan, County Dublin, to whom it passed, and in whose family it remained till it was forfeited by his grandson, William (son of John) Sarsfield, of Lucan, who joined in the Rebellion of 1641.
There was one parcel of 3 acres (12,000 m2) in Turnings on Sir William’s death in 1616, called Gortinuck, or Monemuck (the Garden of the Pig, or Bog of the Pig), which was claimed by Martin Long, of Derry (Daars), as belonging to him. After being forfeited by the last-named William Sarsfield, Turnings was granted to Sir Theophilus Jones, Knt., of Osbertstown, in the County Meath. He was the second son of Doctor Lewis Jones, Bishop of Killaloo; he died on the 2nd January, 1684, and was buried in Naas. By his wife, Alicia, daughter of Arthur, son of Sir William Usher, Knight. he left an eldest son, Sir Arthur Jones, Knight., who succeeded him in Osberstown
About the year 1582 is recorded a pardon for rebellion of Edmond Keogh (the swarthy) O’Lalor, of Turnings, gentleman; Margaret, his wife; Richard, his son; Elis, his daughter; and Murrough O’Duffy, his servant. The Mills family took possession of the house in the 19th century.
Turnings Architectural Fragment
A sculptured window-head of two lights can be found at the back of Turnings House. According to Walter Fitzgerald, who wrote about the carving in 1901, “it is not known whether this window is in situ, or whether it was brought here from another locality, is not known, its probable date is the fifteenth or sixteenth century.”
In 1959 Turnings became the location for Ireland’s first horse abattoir, closed in the 1980s. The abbattoir was re-opened in late 2009. A planning application was lodged with Kildare County Council (2007) to develop a town in the district but the project was not purused.