This new venture of faith numbered only twelve members, but from this little nucleus—apostolic in number and in spirit —Wm. Downs was chosen pastor. He was a brother of humble gifts, but sustained his office for eleven years. The Church, having no settled habitation, at first hired a small premise in Coalpit Lane, but, in 1814, opened the Townhead Street Chapel. Part of the site had been given, and the remainder purchased upon moderate terms. Mr. Isaac Senior, an American merchant, appears to have been the chief promoter of the enterprise. In the same year five- young men of the Church commenced a Sunday School; an effort regarded with some suspicion.
One of the five was Charles Larom, who, having been sent to the Horton Baptist Academy for ministerial training, returned to fulfil the most notable ministry that Townhead has enjoyed. During his pastorate of forty-five years he became a familiar figure in the Churches of the county, and the leader of extension work in the Sheffield district. His own Church sent seven of her sons into the ministry. He was a scholarly and diligent student, having "by almost daily effort acquired a some-what accurate and intimate knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek." The Townhead Church, after a century of toil, is placed in difficult circumstances.
The local changes inevitable in the centre of an expanding city have greatly restricted her opportunities of service. A Bill empowering the trustees to sell the property has received the consent of the House of Lords, and the Church has regretfully decided to disband. But, should its doors be closed its site will long remain sacred. Here many faithful pastors have broken the bread of life, and here also the voices of the most famous Baptist preachers of last century have been heard.
Townhead has been a fruitful bough "whose branches run over the wall." She has contributed largely to Home and Foreign Missionary funds, and—as will be seen in the related history of the district—has been the mother, or foster-mother, of Churches not a few Her ministers have been : Wm. Downs (1804-15); John Jones (1816-21); Charles Larom (1821-65); Charles Short, M.A. (1865-70); M. J. Stephens, B.A. (1871); Richard Green (1871-87); Isaac Ward (1887-1903); Ashford Smith 1904-1910).