Behind and beside the tiny St. Francis Chapel on the Kershaw Estate called Merrywood in Marlborough, NH there is a grove of mountain laurel under a canopy of trees. The lovely waterfront scene is the setting for a natural memorial garden with St. Francis guarding three gravestones, two of which are for Francis Stewart Kershaw and his wife Justine Frances.
In the beginning, when the chapel was built in 1926, there was a small statue of St. Francis appropriately standing watch over a scallop-shell birdbath. It sat on an old millstone which was brought to the property from Lyndeborough, NH. The millstone and birdbath are still in place, but the statue was stolen one year in the off-season. Other vandalism has taken place on the property, so more care is now taken to protect it. The original statue has been replaced with a less peaceful and benevolent saint, but a photograph and an ink drawing show the original work by Frederick Warren Allen. Clothed in a monk’s cowl and robe, the bearded saint looks kindly down at the bird in his left hand that is looking trustingly back up at him. The right hand is giving the creature a blessing.
The statue may still be somewhere locally. We hope that anyone seeing this who knows where it is will let us know so that it can be returned to it’s natural garden setting on Stone Pond. These drawings were done by Polly B. Johnson for the Revised Centennial Edition of Stone Pond by Wm.D.Eddy et al.
Outdoor sculpture is always at risk for theft or vandalism. Save Outdoor Sculpture is actively involved in cataloging and repairing these public works for future generations to enjoy.