- "Harry could see a village, undoubtedly Little Hangleton, nestled between two steep hills, its church and graveyard clearly visible."
- —Little Hangleton and the surrounding area[src]
The graveyard was located in the valley county side outside the village of Little Hangleton. Like the village, both the graveyard and its church, were clearly visible from the hillside above the valley. The graveyard was bordered by a stone wall and sat next to the grounds of the vast Riddle estate and the Riddle House was clearly visible from the graveyard. Frank Bryce, the Riddle’s groundskeeper, lived in a cottage on the grounds which was located right next to the graveyard and was separated from it by the stone wall. One set of the cottage’s kitchen windows faced the graveyard. The grave yard was placed in an uneven area which resulted in it having high and low burial ranges ranged from wide open to narrow and cramped. There was also a small wooden area filled with yew and other bare trees.
In previous years, the Little Hangleton graveyard was a fine resting place for the citizens of the Little Hangleton. However, by 1994 the graveyard had become overgrown. Many of the graves had become covered by ivy and moss. Many of the names written on them had become faded. Several grave stones had become tilted and sunken into the ground. A number of stone steps had also recessed into the ground and partly hidden. The Riddle House can be seen in the distance.
As well as having normal graves, the graveyard also had above ground mausoleums and a series of below ground vaults and catacombs. While most of those buried had simple head stones to mark their graves, there were several other monuments that were grander. Several were marked by stone obelisks and angels.
Near the mausoleum and vaults were a number of stone sarcophaguses. Several of these were placed on top of each other. The most opulent of the graves belonged to the Riddle family. The Riddle grave was marked by a large marble headstone that bore the names of Thomas Riddle, Mary Riddle and Tom Riddle Snr. The most striking feature of the grave was the large stone statue of the Angel of Death. The angel bore a raised scythe in its right hand and featured a skull face and skeletal hands.
The Riddle murders
- "Voldemort Stupefied his uncle, took his wand, and proceeded across the valley to 'the big house over the way.' There he murdered the Muggle man who had abandoned his witch mother, and, for good measure, his Muggle grandparents, thus obliterating the last of the unworthy Riddle line and revenging himself upon the father who never wanted him."
- —Description of the Riddle murders[src]
In 1943, Tom Marvolo Riddle (the future Lord Voldemort) came to Little Hangleton to seek out his family and travelled to the Gaunt shack, the former home of his mother Merope Gaunt. There, he found his half-crazed uncle, Morfin Gaunt, living in deplorable conditions. Gaunt (who had no idea that this boy was his nephew) immediately mistook Riddle for "that Muggle that married my (Morfin's) sister,". Morfin went on to tell his sister Merope's tragic tale, and how she was abandoned by her husband many years ago. Riddle was enraged by what he considered the tale of his father causing his mother's death and condemning him to a miserable life in a Muggle orphanage.
After Morfin finished his story, Riddle temporarily incapacitated his uncle, and took his wand. He then proceeded to the "big house over the way" Morfin had told him about, the Riddle House. Once there, Riddle used the Killing Curse upon his father and his Muggle grandparents, Thomas Riddle and Mary Riddle. Riddle returned to the Gaunt shack and replaced Morfin's wand on his person and altered his memory so that he would confess to killing the Riddles and there would be no further investigation into the matter.
The Riddle's gardener, Frank Bryce, was accused of the murders on the Muggle end of the investigation. Though, the baffled Great Hangleton Police were forced to release Bryce for lack of evidence, as the cause of death could not be determined, Bryce's life was mired in rumour and speculation. Morfin, meanwhile, proudly confessed to killing the Riddles to the Ministry of Magic (which recognised it as a wizard's murder instantly), and was taken away to Azkaban Prison to serve a life sentence for the murder of the Riddle family. Thus, two men paid for the crimes of the future Lord Voldemort while Riddle escaped with Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, stolen from his uncle Morfin. The three Riddles were laid to rest in a prepared family grave in the Little Hangleton Graveyard, where their remains would remain undisturbed for over fifty years. Not one citizen within Little Hangleton bothered to even pretend to miss the three Riddles, as they were immensely unpopular due to their snobbish and rude attitudes.
Plot against Harry Potter
- "Who put your name in the Goblet of Fire, under the name of a different school? I did. Who frightened off every person I thought might try to hurt you to prevent you from winning the tournament? I did. Who nudged Hagrid into showing you the dragons? I did. Who helped you see the only way you could beat the dragon? I did."
- —Barty Crouch Jr to Harry Potter about the tournament[src]
Many years later, the adult Lord Voldemort hatched a plot to regain his body and murder his greatest enemy, Harry Potter. The potion he devised required three ingredients: bone of the father unwillingly given, flesh of the servant willingly sacrificed, and blood of the enemy forcibly taken. Lord Voldemort returned to the site of his first murder, the Riddle House, with his servant Peter Pettigrew in August of 1994. Frank Bryce, now an old man, saw a light in the windows of the Riddle House and went to investigate. Inside, he overheard part of Lord Voldemort's plan to kidnap and murder Harry Potter once and for all, but was discovered by Nagini, who reported his presence to Voldemort. After a brief confrontation between Bryce and the Dark Lord, Voldemort performed the same curse upon Bryce that he performed on the Riddle Family more than half a century ago in that very same house, killing Bryce instantly.
Return of the Dark Lord and the graveyard duel
- " [...] in the light of Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."
- —Albus Dumbledore after Voldemort's return[src]
On the night of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament (which had been grossly manipulated by Lord Voldemort through his servant, Barty Crouch Jr), 24 June 1995, Harry Potter entered the Triwizard Maze in search of the Triwizard Cup. Unbeknownst to Harry or anyone else involved in the Tournament, Crouch had turned the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey to the Little Hangleton Graveyard. Harry and Cedric Diggory arrived at the cup at the same time, and having helped each other several times throughout the course of the Tournament, agreed to take the cup together and tie for first place. Upon touching the cup, the pair was transported to the resting place of the Riddle Family, the Little Hangleton Graveyard, where the Dark Lord was awaiting Harry with Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew murdered Cedric using Voldemort's wand, then proceeded to concocted a potion using Harry's blood, Tom Riddle Snr's bones, and Pettigrew's own hand.
The Dark Lord, restored to physical form, briefly duelled Harry, who was forced to hide and dodge behind tombstones to avoid Voldemort's curses. Finally, Harry fired a Disarming Charm at Voldemort at the same moment Voldemort attempted a Killing Curse on Harry. The spells collided and formed a golden thread that connected the two wands. This rare effect, the Priori Incantatem, occurred due to the wands' "twin cores:" feathers from the same phoenix. Harry's courage overpowered Voldemort's destructive will, and his wand forced the Dark Lord's wand to regurgitate "echoes" of the spells it had previously cast, in reverse order. First came an "echo" of Cedric Diggory, followed by Frank Bryce, Bertha Jorkins, Harry's mother, Lily, and finally Harry's father, James Potter. They instructed Harry to break the connection when he was ready and to grab the Triwizard Cup to return to Hogwarts, as they would be able to momentarily hold Voldemort at bay. Cedric Diggory requested that Harry take his body back to Hogwarts, to his family, which Harry agreed to do in honour of his fallen classmate and fellow Champion. Harry broke the connection, and while the apparitions held Voldemort off, he was able to grab Cedric's body, summon the Triwizard Cup to him and escape from the Little Hangleton Graveyard.
Known buried people
- Tom Riddle Snr (killed by Lord Voldemort)
- Thomas Riddle (killed by Lord Voldemort)
- Mary Riddle (killed by Lord Voldemort)
- Rebecca Ramsea (unknown death)
- Eddi Stoddy (unknown death)
- Charles Epanel (unknown death)
- Charles Pikal (unknown death)
- Gulray (unknown death)
Behind the scenes
- According to production designer Stuart Craig, the inspriation for the graveyard was Highgate Cemetery in North London which had been reclaimed by nature.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film), Wormtail trapped Harry in the arms of the Angel of Death statue while in the novel, Wormtail ties Harry to the Riddle Headstone with conjured cords.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned as "graveyard")
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Flashback on Disc 2)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (concept artwork)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (mentioned only)