Tucked away in a wooded area on High Road, Lichgate is little known, even to many Tallahassee residents. Its cornerstone and claim to fame is an ancient, fairy-tale live oak tree, whose branches wind and reach out and dip toward the ground from a massive trunk. The tree’s beauty is what lured Laura Jepsen to the property in the first place.
Heaven on Earth! For this intrepid woman of letters, Lichgate on High Road certainly is that. Lichgate is now as it was always intended to be: as one contemplates the very immediate lyricism of the stately, speading oak which now protects and accepts the many visitors. It was Dr. Laura Pauline Jepsen, with her literary mind and passion for antiquity, who built Lichgate.
Dr. Laura Jepsen was a Florida State University English professor. She was an exceptional scholar–whose areas of expertise were on Tolstoy, Greek tragedy and Shakespeare. Laura Jepsen was honored with an exhibit at the Davenport School museum to display the history of Davenport determination and educational excellence.
But she is most remembered for her lovingly built English Tudor Cottage–Lichgate on High Road. She had a vision to build what is documented as Florida's only example of 16th Century Tudor style architecture. She built it on 3 acres specifically to protect the sites unusual matriarch oak, recognized by the Smithsonian Project to celebrate each states significant trees. Lichgate on High Road was placed on the United States National Registry of Historic Places on March 31, 2006.
To conquer time, to preserve the essence of the past, and to escape into reality–where her desire when starting to build Lichgate. The cottage is a small, humble home, but gives a richness beyond any thrown. It is a fairytale creation with a glow from within that speaks of innocence.
Lichgate opens a person up to a different perspective. It fosters and embraces innocence and a moment of authenticity. Here is peace as you step through the threshold and walk beneath the moss draped branches of the glorious oak tree. The outstretched branches sweeping the earth and climbing upward welcomes you home. An urban retreat of natural gardens, natures' beauty and reflection.
Lichgate was built with a dream, "that the foundation of this cottage is laid in the imaginary ashes of a previous civilization." An emblem of antiquity. When Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth walked the earth and the Old Globe echoed the meters of Shakespeare. Peace with those ashes. Laura soon realized that although some persons live in the house of their dreams, her house lived in the dreams of other persons. Here was a curiosity, out of time and place, a fairytale creation, come to settle, as if by a spell, in the Florida sunshine. Jepsen’s ambition and adoration of timelessness pervade the design of Lichgate’s cottage, from the appearance to the materials used.
In medieval times a lichgate was a roof gateway to the church Cemetery. It was a shelter to rest and set down your loved one after your journey to the churchyard. Lichgates's became a place to gather oneself, often holding services if the weather held rain. Laura built her symbolic lichgate on her property after many years of contemplation she erected a memorial "fytt and fyne" to the world a retrospect. She writes in her book " how happy the thoughts that merely by going east or west through a lichgate one may enjoy the best of both worlds the here and the semblance of the hereafter."
In the Medieval period, labyrinths represented a union of art and design suggesting a greater harmony in the universe. It is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of circle and spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to your own center and back again out into the world.
Please contact us to book your event!
Lichgate has been host to any number of lives events over the years. This tradition started with Laura Jepsen. Lichgate's guests have exclusive use of unique gardens with winding paths, water features throughout the grounds, along with the charming cottage. The cottage and grounds can be reserved together or separately. We are happy to assist with your social event. Please contact us with any questions. Below you will find our calendar for open dates.
What a neat, hidden place. The entrance from High Road is marked by 2 white 4x4 posts with a "sign". Google maps have it right, but I drove past it on the first try. There is parking. And a short path to an ancient oak tree and a cottage and a flower garden and a labyrinth. It is maintained by volunteers, and they clearly take their contribution seriously. Walking around it can take 15 minutes, or you could spend an hour if you just wanted to hang out. It is lovely.
Such a quite enchanted place under the trees. It's right by a busy road but its unnoticeable when in Lichgate. A beautiful garden and a few places to sit at. I would recommend bring a blanket to lay on by yourself or with others to enjoy the peace in the air. A good place to study too!
Great tucked away place filled with lovely scenery and a massive oak. Great for flow arts, picnics, photography, yoga and more!
This place is absolutely beautiful and serene...The tree is so mesmerizing.
Gorgeous. It really is like this hidden secret peaceful place. I absolutely loved it. I can't believe I had never been before!
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