The second most powerful man in the church said that it was “very disappointing” it had not happened during this General Synod but he was sure the principle had been accepted.

His comments came the day after the church tore up plans to ordain women as bishops despite overwhelming support in the parishes.

After a tortuous 12-year legal process, which secured strong backing in all but two of the 44 dioceses, the move was denied final approval by just six votes.

It could be many years before it is discussed again.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Dr Sentamu said: "“It is very disappointing because we have been working at this for a very long time.

“Everybody accepts women bishops. The timing is not an easy one but I am one of those that strongly believes…there will be in my lifetime.

“The principle has already been accepted by the general synod and in all the dioceses so what we need to do is find the legislation.

“I have had for the first time, traditional Catholics, conservative evangelicals saying that whatever happens with this measure we will work with it but if it doesn’t we will continue to work towards a good legislation.

“I want to take them at their word. They have said publicly they will work to make it come about.”