It follows accusations made in The Times newspaper, and concern alleged abuse against a schoolboy in Australia in the 1960s and a Manchester Cathedral choirboy in the 1980s. Waddington died in 2007.

The former Archbishop of York, David Hope (now Lord Hope) was reportedly told of the allegations in 1999 and 2003. It is alleged he confronted Waddington and banned him from conducting services, but did not call the police.

Lord Hope ? who was Archbishop of York from 1995 to 2005 ? said he had acted in line with Church child protection policy of the time. He said in a statement, ‘I strenuously deny…the suggestion that myself or my team at the time would have acted negligently in this or any other safeguarding matter.’

Dr Sentamu’s office said the probe would look ‘specifically into the issues surrounding the reports’ and the findings would be made public.

In May it was also announced that the Church of England is to undertake a national audit of its entire child protection system.

The move is an initiative of the Church’s House of Bishops which met last month and discussed the final report into safeguarding failures in the Chichester Diocese.

A statement from the House of Bishops read, ‘Whilst supporting the continuing good work of diocesan child protection officers and the best practise of safeguarding guidelines currently in operation in the Church, there was also a recognition that there was no room for complacency particularly at a time when cases from past decades were being brought to light.’

The statement continues: ‘These steps included the undertaking of an audit of safeguarding provision in every diocese, the review of risk assessment procedures and the review and development of national core materials for safeguarding training.’

This year three retired Anglican priests from Sussex have been jailed for sexual offences.

In February Robert Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, pleaded guilty to 11 charges of abusing boys in West Sussex, Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight. He was jailed for eight years.

In May Father Keith Wilkie Denford, 78, of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, was jailed for 18 months at Hove Crown Court. He was found guilty at an earlier hearing of indecently assaulting two teenage boys.

Canon Gordon Rideout, 74, from East Sussex was found guilty of 36 separate sex offences by a jury at Lewes Crown Court for assaults committed in the 1960s and 1970s. He was sentenced to ten years in prison in May.