TWO rural Quaker places of worship - described as "precious pockets of calm in an otherwise hectic world" - have been given protection by Historic England.

The Grade II listings for Preston Patrick Meeting House and Cartmel Meeting House are part of the heritage body's work to build up a detailed picture of the buildings used by the Religious Society of Friends.

The Preston Patrick site has been home to a Quaker meeting house and burial ground since the late 17th century and also contains a cottage, gig house, stable and schoolroom block.

Inside, the meeting room features wooden panelling and balusters reclaimed from the earlier 1691 meeting house.

Back in 1652 weaver's son and travelling preacher George Fox spoke to a group called the Westmorland Seekers, who played a pivotal role in early Quakerism in the North of England. Some hailed from Preston Patrick and were later buried there too.

Cartmel's meeting house was built in 1859 to designs by Alfred Waterhouse, architect of London's Natural History Museum and Manchester Town Hall, who was from a Quaker family.

Historic England said that although the place of worship is "relatively plain" it still has original features such as the minister's stand, wooden panelling, doors and windows. The site is also home to a gig house and stable block.

Meanwhile, a meeting house at Pardshaw, near Cockermouth, has had its status upgraded to Grade II*. Scientist John Dalton was educated there in the 1770s.

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."

He added: "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.”