The Cleveland Tontine is situated at the junction of the present A19 and A172 – both roads being of ancient origin (from York and Thirsk toYarm and Stockton on the west (A19) and to the east to Stokesley, Guisborough, and to the coast (Redcar Marske and over the moors to Whitby).
The History of The Tontine
All these locations having monastic links. The closest one being Mount Grace Priory, nestling under the hills and founded in the 1300s. With the arrival of the stagecoaches the site was developed into an inn, by means of a “Tontine” *system to cater for the passengers, posthorses and stabling. Subsciptions were opened on 1st February 1804 and with the support of the Cleveland gentry, farmers and business people these soon amounted to £2500.
The foundations laid on 13th July 1804 quickly developed into an extensive and elegant plan. By the 5th of September a daily post was established. Eventually the new railways made the stages obsolete. The Tontine was then bought by a well-known local family the Punshons as a residence.
The period of the 1830s onwards saw the great industrial expansion of Teesside and the arrival of the railways to nearby Potto brought many of the Iron masters into the area, building elegant and spacious “manor “type homes at Ingleby Arncliffe, Potto and Hutton Rudby. As the postwar traffic began to increase, Cameron`s brewery bought the Tontine as a flagship, A high quality ” road house” with a restaurant, ballroom and cellar bar . Camerons remained until the retirement of Mr .Cameron Sr.
The McCoy brothers bought the Tontine in 1976 and soon were awarded “Restaurant of the Year” courtesy of Egon Ronay, a huge accolade for a Northern restaurant in those days!
The word Tontine originates from Lorenzo Tonti, a Neapolitan who in 1653 evolved a system of raising loans on life annuities, the last survivor of those who advanced money to inherit the whole amount.
The Haunted History of The Tontine
Given the nature of the inn – a Tontine – the imagination conjours up deadly deals and backstabbing and you would think there would be spirits galore hanging around and holding onto their investment.
There is not of the businessman kind. In the attic area are 3 spirits – two young children who it would seem used to play here and you can sometimes hear their feet patter across the floor. Also, they are keen to play games and things tend to move of their own violition up here. Beside the children, their is a man also situated within the attic area and he appears to be very protective of the two children, so much so, that he extends his force outwards to prevent people climbing the steep stairs into the attic.
There are a number of ghosts which have been known to make an appearance within hotel and grounds – ghostly legs have been seen walking within room 3 towards the bathroom and a figure has often been seen in the gardens.