The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Probably lived in Bywater1
wi'llkum co'tton
Other names
'Wilcome' was often abbreviated to 'Will'


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 September 2011
  • This entry is complete

Wilcome ‘Will’ Cotton

Brother to Farmer Cotton

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The second son of Holman Cotton of Bywater, and thus the younger brother of Farmer Tolman and uncle to Rose, the bride of Sam Gamgee. Little is known of his life, other than the fact that he was born in the year III 2946, five years after his elder brother (and, coincidentally, after Bilbo's great adventure). The Cotton family were indigenous to Bywater, and so it seems likely that Wilcome also lived in that village. It's unclear whether he left any descendants (none are recorded) but Wilcome's name at least lived on; his brother Tolman chose to name his second son 'Wilcome' after his own younger brother.



Wilcome's father Holman Cotton was associated with Bywater, and so was Wilcome's elder brother Tom (Farmer Cotton) so it seems a reasonable assumption that Wilcome himself lived in or near that village.


As a modern name 'Wilcome' (or any of its many variations) usually derives from the Old English for 'welcome', and that fits with the homely associations of the Cottons' origins. Other possible sources are 'well-combed' or 'willow valley'; neither of these seem to fit quite as well, but we know so little of Wilcome's life that either remains a possibility.

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