Thomas Riddle (1880–1943) was a very wealthy Muggle who owned most of the town of Little Hangleton. He and his wife Mary had a son named Tom. The Riddles were snobby and looked down on the poverty-stricken House of Gaunt who lived nearby. Although the Gaunts were also unpopular, being considered "white trash" by the most of the village, the Riddle looked down on most of the families in the village as well, becoming very unpopular amongst the locals. He was murdered along with his wife and son by his own grandson, Tom Marvolo Riddle.
Thomas was born 1880. At some point he married Mary, who would give birth to their son, Tom, in 1905.
The elderly Riddle couple suffered a great scandal when Tom eloped and married Merope Gaunt, the daughter of "tramp" Marvolo Gaunt. The pair left for London, but Tom soon returned to his parents' home, claiming to have been "hood-winked" and "taken in" by Merope. This may have referred to her being a witch and probably using a Love Potion on him to obtain his affections, or to her pregnancy.
In 1943, Tom was confronted by the son he had abandoned — Tom Marvolo Riddle, who had been left in an orphanage after his mother's death and who was a very powerful wizard. Thomas was murdered by his grandson with the Killing Curse, as were his wife and son, leaving the three with horrified faces at their deaths, and no medical reason for how three perfectly healthy persons died just like that. Riddle then framed his uncle Morfin Gaunt for the crime, and Morfin was imprisoned in Azkaban by the Magical justice system. While the Muggle authorities could not figure out how the Riddles had died, many people suspected their gardener, Frank Bryce, of being the killer. However, the Muggle police never prepared charges against Bryce, due to lack of evidence. Thomas was buried in the Little Hangleton graveyard along with his son and wife. Due to their attitude towards the locals the only mourners for him were the parson, the mortician and the gravediggers. However, the murders did become the talk of the town, and residents of Little Hangleton did question what had happened and if it could reoccur.
Behind the scenes
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Albus Dumbledore refers to Riddle’s child, Tom (senior) as "the squire’s son." "Squire" is a British term referring to the leader of an English village, often a justice of the peace or a member of Parliament, indicating Thomas’s status in Muggle society.
The name "Thomas" is the Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma’) which meant "twin".