Gargoyles are grotesque heads or figures usually projecting from roofs and acting as rainwater spouts.  They were very popular during the 12th and 13th centuries but fell out of favour with the introduction of plastic down pipes and water butts in the 1490s.

The name is thought to be a corruption of ‘gar-girls’ since the earliest examples depicted a mermaid with the body of a nymph and the head of a pike.

Most modern examples are modelled on Arthur Gargoyle, the former president of the NUM.