By Paul Brown
Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries gave churches cheap lead to build gutter-to-ground pipes – so many gothic waterspouts ceased their free shower service
The gargoyles that decorate many churches are not so frightening as they used to be, at least during heavy rain. Their purpose was to house a pipe linked to the guttering. Water gushed out of their mouths, the plan being to throw it as far out from the walls as possible, to avoid damp damaging the fabric of the building.
Passersby would have needed to keep a weather eye out to avoid this waterspout pouring from a great height.