Pendant vaults - in German ungraciously called "Abhänglinge", which might be translated as "dangling vaults" - are the hanging keystones that normally adorn the highest points of ribbed vaults.
But how many times has it not happened that, at the end of a great epoch, the force for fundamental innovation was depleted. This also happened in Gothic architecture. At some point, the building masters started to try out aesthetic gimmicks.
Abbey church, Bath (GB), medieval, copied 19th century
Those who look closely will occasionally also find pendant vaults in German churches. Sometimes they are only hinted at, for example in the form of a knob. There are also vaults that only have a purely decorative function.
St. Pierre, Caen (F), late gothic
Yet, there is another adventurous type: pendant vaults as separate structures attached to the ceiling, and not integrated in the actual vault.
Translation: Erik Eising (M.A.)