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Cotman was the son of Cottar, and an ancestor of the Cottons of Bywater. Cotman was apparently not a wealthy Hobbit - his name means 'cottage dweller', meaning that he lived in a particularly small Hobbit-hole. He married Rose Greenhand, the daughter of Holman the greenhanded, and their son (also called Holman) was the first Hobbit to use the family-name of Cotton.