Reverend Libby Lane has been announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England, just a month after a historic change to canon law.
Mrs Lane has been the vicar at St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the diocese of Chester, since 2007.
The general synod voted to back plans for female bishops in July and formally adopted legislation on 17 November.
The appointment will end centuries of male leadership of the Church and comes 20 years after women became priests.
Mrs Lane was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire. Since 2010 she has also held the role of Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese of Chester.
Speaking at Stockport town hall the new bishop, whose role was approved by the Queen, said it was a “remarkable day for me and an historic day for the Church”.
“This is unexpected and very exciting,” she said.
“I’m honoured and thankful to be called to serve as the next Bishop of Stockport and not a little daunted to be entrusted with such a ministry.”
Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Mrs Lane and said: “This is an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions”.
Mrs Lane will be consecrated as the eighth bishop of the town at a ceremony at York Minster on 26 January.