Derived from the Olde English pre 6th Century "Cot" meaning a "Cottage" and "mann" - a worker or servant. The name is medieval locational and job descriptive for "A Farm Worker", and is also found as "Cotar". The name is first recorded as Ulkillus Cot-Manus in 1183, Durham but this is not strictly speaking a surname recording but a locational personal name. The true development as the surname is Cotman (1208, Sussex) and William Coteman, who is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk in the 1275, and in the reign of King Edward I, (1272 - 1307) The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Coteman. which was dated 1206, in the "The Pipe Rolls of Sussex". during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.