Stephen Williams, a little-known, but significant member of the Strict Baptist church at Little Prescott Street (what is now the furthest south extension of Mansell Street), was influential in the appointment of Samuel Burford [c. 1726-1768] as minister of the church in the mid-eighteenth century. In the end, this appointment also resulted in the establishment of a new Strict Baptist church at Little Alie Street.
After the death of the previous minister, the minute books of the church show that James Fall had been proposed to take the deceased minister’s place, but in an election held in 1753, votes against his appointment narrowly outnumbered those in favour by four. The minutes show that Stephen Williams voted against Mr Fall’s appointment and it is quite possible that Williams had Samuel Burford in mind for the post, Williams’ sister Hannah having married into the Burford family. However, despite doubts shown by some members of the congregation, the minutes state that on 27th April 1755, 'The Church unanimously chose him [Burford] and thought proper to give him a call'. The passing over of James Fell led to the setting up of his own church at Little Alie Street.