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- top course, usually of some form of slab, of a wall, designed to prevent water penetrating into the core of the wall. Copes can be formed of any material that does not absorb water. Copes are often shaped ie half - round or saddle - backed, and can frequently be quite decorative. An arrangement where small individual cope stones are interrupted by occassional longer, vertical stones is known as "hounds tooth." The edge of copes should project beyond the wall surface to allow water to drip clear. Where there is no projection, the cope should properly br referred to as a cap.