The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks during a pre-recorded interview with the BBC at Lambeth Palace in London. REUTERS/Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via Reuters

York, United Kingdom - The Church of England on Monday voted to allow its first ever female bishops, ending half a century of divisive wrangling over the role of women.

The decision reverses a previous shock rejection in 2012 and comes after intensive diplomacy by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

There were cheers in the hall at the Church of England General Synod in York, northern England, as the measure passed.

The results came in a series of three votes across different houses of the Church of England.

The House of Bishops voted 37 for, two against with one abstention. The House of Clergy voted 162 for, 25 against with four abstentions. The House of Laity voted 152 for, 45 against with five abstentions.

The first women bishops could now be appointed before the end of the year.