Gargoyles are decoration for drainage. Gothic churches channeled water away from their walls to prevent erosion. The spout often emptied through the mouth of a sculpture.
These spouts are called gargoyles, from an old French word gargouille meaning “throat” (it is related to the English words “gargling” and “gurgling”). Other forms of grotesque sculpture used to decorate churches are commonly referred to as “gargoyles” but, strictly speaking, they are not, because they have no practical function.
Photo licensed from The 3D Studio.