The Parish Church of Kirkby Stephen, known locally as the Cathedral of the Dales, is built on the site on an Old Saxon church and contains many relics including the eighth century Loki Stone, which is one of only two such stones in Europe.
At the west end of Kirkby Stephen Parish Church, among several other ancient remnants, there is a block of stone about a metre in height, decorated by a carved figure with horns. This is historically important, as one of the few physical survivals from the time when the Vikings settled parts of this area.
This chained figure depicts the Norse god Loki, who plays a large part in Scandinavian mythology. He was generally portrayed as a joker and mischief-maker, but when he caused the death of the god Odin's son by trickery, he was punished by being imprisoned below ground in chains.
The Kirkby Stephen Loki stone is certainly based on this old pagan tradition, but it is possible that it had been adapted to Christian purposes, and that the carving was intended as a representation of the devil.
(Description of the Loki Stone from "Mallerstang Dale: a guide to the head of Eden" by John Hamilton, published by Broadcast Books, Dec 1993).
All the villages around Kirkby Stephen have ancient churches and meeting houses of all denominations that provide architectural, historical and spiritual inspiration.
A few examples are: St Oswald's Church, Ravenstonedale (investigate its pews, pulpit and Gilbertine Abbey excavations), Shap Abbey ruins, Church Brough, Crosby Garrett, Warcop (ancient Rushbearing ceremony in June) and Sedbergh's Brigg Flatts Friends Meeting House (the oldest in England).