The Quakers have sold the two buildings for which they are known the world over.

The trustees of Old Jordans have exchanged contracts this week with a London-based investment company which has bought The Mayflower Barn and Jordans Farmhouse, the secret meeting place for the Friends in the 17th century at the time of religious persecution.

The two buildings at the heart of the Jordans estate were built in the 1600s from ships' timbers that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America.

They were originally used as a hostel to give Quakers from London a break in the country but more recently they became a hotel and conference centre run by the Old Jordans Trust, a registered charity set up by the members.

When the trustees put the estate on the market in March last year for £2.5million they said the decision had caused much heart-searching but they eventually agreed that the proceeds from the sale could be better used to promote their beliefs.

This week they weren't disclosing how much Rivercrest Investments had paid. The estate includes the Mayflower Barn, Jordans Farmhouse, a more modern refectory, also a gardener's cottage and housekeeper's cottage grouped together in grounds of five acres.

The sale doesn't include the Friends Meeting House built in 1688 which was severely damaged by fire after it destroyed the roof and the rear of the building last year.

Valerie McFarlane, clerk to the trustees of Old Jordans, said the members were now looking forward to the future. "We just hope that Old Jordans will have a new life and will continue to be much loved by the community. We just want the building to be loved and continue to be a very important building."

She revealed that they were now discussing plans with architects and contractors to rebuild the 1688 Friends Meeting House. Since the fire, they have held their weekly meetings in Jordans Village Hall.

Meanwhile, Emma Cleugh, partner in institutional consultancy at Knight Frank's Sloane Street office, who has been in charge of negotiations for Old Jordans, says the purchasers "are very interested in old buildings and in architecture generally.

"Rivercrest has emphasised to the trustees that they want to do what is best for the buildings. They are considering several alternatives for Old Jordans including continuing as a hotel and restaurant or possibly residential use.

"The Mayflower Barn will remain part of the heritage scene."

The sale is due for completion on March 31.