The oldest Jewish cemetery in Britain outside of London – which dates back to 1744 – has been granted Grade II listed status.
Plymouth Hoe Old Jews Burial Ground was originally created in a garden by a member of the city’s Jewish community, before expanding through a series of land purchases.
Owned by Plymouth Synagogue, it is only accessible through a black door in a barbican wall and is closed to the public, although tours can be arranged.
Many of the earliest grave inscriptions – which are mostly in Hebrew – have been eroded since surveys were done in the 1930s, but a number of stones date back to the 1760s.
Records show that the earliest burials took place in 1744, Plymouth Council said.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, the local authority’s deputy leader, said many of those buried worked in trades which supported the Royal Navy, such as tailors.
He said: “I’m so pleased with this listing especially as the decision recognised that this is one of the earliest Jewish burial grounds in the country.
“It’s a fascinating place and one which helps explain Plymouth’s story.
“To have it confirmed we have one of the oldest Jewish burial grounds helps celebrate our rich history.”
The Plymouth Jewish community celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2012, and its shul is believed to be the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in the English-speaking world.