GUTTER (0. Fr. goutiere, mod. goultiere, from Lat. gutta, drop), in architecture, a horizontal channel or trough contrived to carry away the water from a flat or sloping roof to its discharge down a vertical pipe or through a spout or gargoyle; more specifically, but loosely, the similar channel at the side of a street, below the pavement. In Greek and Roman temples the cymatium of the cornice was the gutter, and the water was discharged through the mouths of lions, whose heads were carved on the same. Sometimes the cymatium was not carried along the flanks of a temple, in which case the rain fell off the lower edge of the roof tiles. In medieval work the gutter rested partly on the top of the wall and partly on corbel tables, and the water was discharged through gargoyles. Sometimes, however, a parapet or pierced balustrade was carried on the corbel table enclosing the gutter. In buildings of a more ordinary class the parapet is only a continuation of the wall below, and the gutter is set back and carried in a trough resting on the lower end of the roof timbers. The safest course is to have an eaves gutter which projects more or less in front of the wall and is secured to and carried by the rafters of the roof. In Renaissance architecture generally the pierced balustrade of the Gothic and transition work was replaced by a balustrade with vertical balusters. In France a compromise was effected, whereby instead of the horizontal coping of the ordinary balustrade a richly carved cresting was employed, of which the earliest example is in the first court of the Louvre by Pierre Lescot. This exists throughout the French Renaissance, and it is one of its chief characteristic features.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)