Allen’s eldest daughter, Barbara, and her younger brother, Frederick, both have a childhood memory of their family making a trip to see a life sized crucifix that their father, Frederick W. Allen had made for the Kershaw Estate’s St. Francis Chapel in Marlborough, New Hampshire. Barbara remembers being very proud that her father had done that impressive work. Probably just eleven years old at the time, it must have looked huge seen hanging as it was on the outside wall of the chapel overlooking the peaceful waters of Stone Pond.
The chapel and the crucifix have been well cared for on this picturesque country estate. Weekly summer Episcopal services are still held and weddings are frequent occurrences in the tiny Episcopal sanctuary.
The crucifix is carved from oak and preserved in a dark finish. It hangs on the exterior of the curved wall of the apse that houses the altar. It is assumed that it was detached at times and brought inside to protect it from the winter weather and vandals when the estate was closed up in the off season. One account in an addendum to Stone Pond by William D. Eddy relates the comical story of how, while doing repairs, a relative of Mrs. Kershaw had to stand on a Bible on the altar to “take the big Christ figure down” to remove a light fixture.
The Kershaws were well connected in the Boston art community where Francis Kershaw was a Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts. The family continues to maintain the estate as a summer house. Looking at the figure, you would never guess that this wooden work of art had been outside for 84 years! The grain of the wood is deep in places and birds have built their nests in the protected cross behind Christ’s head, but otherwise it is in excellent condition.