A 17th-century Quaker meeting house in Nailsworth is one of five historic meeting houses to have their listed status upgraded to Grade II*.

The Quaker meeting house in Nailsworth has been upgraded to Grade II* listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

Being on the National Heritage List for England celebrates the buildings’ historic, architectural and cultural importance, and protects them for generations to come.

The Nailsworth Meeting House is one of an early group of meeting houses, dating from when Quaker worship was forbidden by law.

Graffiti from 1683 and 1684 on the window sills indicates clearly that the meeting house was in use before the Act of Toleration was passed in 1689.

It is not certain whether the meeting house was a new building, added to an existing cottage, or whether it was a conversion of an existing farm building.

Given its early date and historic features including a panelled partition, it has been upgraded to Grade II*.

The listings are part of Historic England's work to improve understanding, recording and protection of places of worship.

In partnership with the Religious Society of Friends, the formal title for Quakers in Britain, Historic England commissioned a national survey of meeting houses still in use or in Quaker ownership to build up a detailed picture of these buildings across the country – their origins, architectural features and place in the community.

While many older Quaker meeting houses are already listed, the survey findings have been used to update and enhance these entries on the National Heritage List for England as well as identify important meeting houses previously overlooked.

These important buildings express the changing practices of Quakers through history and their reception by and presence in the local community.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: “Quaker meeting houses are precious pockets of calm in an otherwise hectic world, and I’m delighted to see their quiet simplicity celebrated through listing.

"They are a largely unsung group of fascinating and surprisingly varied buildings that reflect the history, attitudes and ethos of the Quaker movement.

"While many still serve their Quaker communities, their historic charm and flexible spaces are also enjoyed by lots of other groups, visitors and passers-by and they deserve to be protected for future generations.”