The modern form of gargoyles originated in the Medieval Age, though the first uses of gargoyles can be traced back as far as ancient Greece and Egypt. The word "gargoyle" means throat, and its original purpose was to convey rainwater away from the side of a building to avoid erosion.
A French legend from the seventh century tells of how St. Romanus saved the country of Rouen from a Goji or Gargouille. The legend says that St. Romanus subdued the creature with a crucifix. The creature was then burned and its head was mounted on the wall of the church to ward away evil spirits.