Chapel of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio, Marlborough, NH, 1926

Lunette at the St. Francis Chapel at Merrywood, Marlborough, NH, F.W.Allen, Sculptor, abt 1930

The entry door to the St.Francis Chapel at the Kershaw Estate in Marlborough, New Hampshire takes you into a tiny sanctuary, still active for summer Episcopal services. Guests at the frequent weddings here approach the chapel under a bell attached to a stone arch onto a low-walled stone terrace overlooking Stone Pond. It has been under a canopy of trees in a grove of laurel with a mountain reflected in the mirror of the water just beside it since it was built in 1926. The whitewashed stucco walls are punctuated with a bright blue wooden door and woodwork trimming the windows. Above the entry in a lunette is a bas-relief of St. Francis kneeling and blessing a wolf. A child following him bears gifts accompanied by a lamb and birds fly and perch nearby. A peaceful scene in a serene place.

The colors of the plaster carving have faded with time and the wood and paint often need repair. In Stone Pond, A Personal History, William D. Eddy remembers that this gift of Frederick W. Allen in memory of Francis Kershaw, who had died the summer of 1930, had rich “Della Robia-like” colors. The low thick walls were thought to be built by Portugese fishermen from a mix containing plaster and seaweed. That memory was corrected to note another combination which also could have produced serious moisture problems.

The chapel has been well-maintained in spite of the moisture. Stone Pond describes the setting by saying, “If there was ever a place for feeling Franciscan about brother sun, sister moon and fruit, herb and flower, I have never encountered one comparable to this …” So St. Francis and his animals greet you as you enter this chapel door over which he kneels to welcome you.

St. Francis Chapel at Merrywood on Stone Pond, Marborough, NH

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *