by Lauren Beavis

Dawn French's former church which was branded sexist for passing a resolution not to have female vicar has appointed one after a furious backlash. 

Revd Carol Edleston will take on the role in March at St Fimbarrus Parish Church in Fowey, which has not had a vicar for four years.

Fowey Parochial Church Council (PCC) made the initial decision to employ a new priest in March but barred women from taking up the role as they advertised for a male vicar - despite Church of England laws allowing female vicars.

It divided locals at the time as the decision from Fowey Parochial Church Council (PCC) came after a minority of the congregation were alleged to have said they could not remain within the church on a "theological basis" - unless the priest was a man.

But many others were angry over the 'sexist' decision - and believed it was ironic given actress and comedian Dawn French, who played a female vicar in one of her most famous roles, is a former resident of Fowey.

The Church said Revd Edleston will now take on the role in March as the Priest for Fowey. 

Posting the news on their social media, the Church wrote: "We are pleased to say that Bishop Hugh has announced that our new Priest for Fowey Parish Church will be Rev Carol Edleston, who lives in Fowey and has a heart for the town and the people. 

"We are thrilled. Say hello if you see Carol in the street."

Carol, who is currently a curate in St Austell, and Truro Anglican, said the appointment "marks a step in the right direction for the parish, and a strategic appointment, as the parish works towards a new relationship with the parishes of Tywardreath and Golant as envisaged in the deanery plan".

Carol, whose husband's family will be celebrating their move to Fowey for a century now, has already officiated at a number of large community events in the town during recent months.

During the sexism row, locals were quick to comment, with one stating that the vote "makes the church look less relevant and more weird."

Another said: ''Oh the irony. So Dawn French lived here, she played a female vicar, which is not good enough for her former home.''

French, 65, is best known for her role as Geraldine Granger in the BBC's Vicar Of Dibley.

Neighbouring communities Tywardreath and Golant had also recently appointed a female vicar - the Reverend Shona Hoad.

The sexist claims were strongly denied by the church, but in July a newly elected parochial church council said it would reverse the position and open up the possibility of a woman becoming priest.