SENIOR clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Canterbury took part in a medieval tradition to confirm Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury-elect.

The 35-strong College of Canons met at Canterbury Cathedral's 14th-century Chapter House to take part in the formality which dates back more than 1,000 years.

The process of electing the next Archbishop of Canterbury by the cathedral community is enshrined within its constitution and can only take place once there has been a royal command.

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As is traditional, the candidate was not invited to attend.

Former oil executive Bishop Welby, the Bishop of Durham - who tomorrow (Friday, November 11) is  guest editor of The Northern Echo - will be confirmed as the Archbishop of Canterbury at St Paul's Cathedral in London on February 4.

His enthronement will take place at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21.

During the enthronement service, he will be placed on two thrones - the diocesan throne as Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, and the chair of St Augustine, as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Welby, 56, takes over as the Church of England battles to resolve long-running negotiations over the introduction of women bishops after legislation to introduce the first female bishops was defeated at the General Synod.

He replaces Dr Rowan Williams, who departed as the head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion on December 31.

Dr Williams will go on to take up the posts of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and chairman of the board of trustees of Christian Aid, the international development agency.