The Van Tromp Beerhouse
The Van Tromp Beerhouse at 19 & 21 Marsh Street, West Bank, Widnes commenced business in 1867 and the licence was taken over by William and Mary Stevens, Elizabeth’s parents, in 1870. They ran the inn together until William died in 1898, leaving all in his will to Mary. She continued to run the beerhouse until her own death in 1902, whereupon local brewers Greenalls decided to close the Van Tromp. This was in response to complaints that there were too many public houses in the area.
The beerhouse was named after a 17th century officer and then admiral in the Dutch Royal Navy, Maarten Tromp (not van Tromp), 23 April 1598 – 10 August 1653, pictured below.
Read more about Marten Tromp here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maarten_Tromp
In Colin Lawless’ book “The Last of England” about public houses in Widnes, you can read more about the beerhouse and the Stevens family.
The book includes the story of Gandy’s Beerhouse, run by Peter Gandy between 1864 and 1870, also in Marsh Street. Peter Gandy made regular court appearances for a variety of offences against the terms of his licence.
Last Will and Testament of Publicans Mary & William Stevens
In my hunt for great grandmother Elizabeth (Stevens) Gandy I have obtained copies of her parents’ wills and made the transcription below. William’s will is brief as he leaves all to widow Mary. Mary’s will is more interesting as it reflects the closing down of the Van Tromp Inn and dispersion of contents. An Elizabeth Gandy is mentioned in Mary’s will but this is not her daughter Elizabeth. Mary refers to family membes as “my son Thomas Stevens” and “my daughter Mary Hannah Campbell” but Elizabeth Gandy is mot called “my daughter”. Thiswas probably a cousin in Penketh. My grandfather William Stevens (Stephen) Gandy is also mentioned by Mary, “my grandson”.
Will of Mary Stevens
This is the last Will and Testament of me Mary Stevens of the Van tromp Inn Marsh Street Widnes in the County of Lancaster made this nineteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and two. I hereby revoke all wills by me at any time herebefore made. I appoint John Campbell of 16 Wellington Street Widnes and Thomas Stevens of the Van Tromp Inn Widnes to be my Executors and direct that all my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses be paid as soon as conveniently after my decease. I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas Stevens Bedstead and Bedding Washing stand table Three chairs one rocking chair to be included. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Hannah Campbell the old grandfathers eight day clock also rocking chair and piano for her daughter Mary. I give and bequeath unto Ellen Stevens of Warrington the chest of drawers in front bedroom also rocking chair. I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Gandy the Washing stand and dressing table in the long room and rocking chair. I give and bequeath unto my granddaughter Annie Simaniatys the chest of drawers in the long room, the sofa in the bar and the pair of black pictures in the kitchen and the plate shelf with its contents. I give and bequeath unto William Stevens Gandy (my grandson) washing stand and dressing Table in front room and a pair of pictures of his own selection. The remainder of my furniture to be divided in equal portions amongst my children and my granddaughter Annie Simaniatys. I give and bequeath the assurance payable on policy no. 19661926 granted by the Prudential Assurance Company Limited to be divided in equal shares amongst the following Ellen Stevens Thomas Stevens Mary Hannah Campbell Elizabeth Gandy Annie Simaniatys and Annie Sherlock after William Sherlock has been refunded such sum as he has paid in premiums on the said Policy since January the first in the year one thousand nine hundred and one.
The mark of Mary Stevens X
On the 20th day of February 1903 Probate of this Will was granted at Liverpool to Thomas Stevens (Elizabeth’s elder brother) one of the Executors.
Read the complete text of Mary’s will here.