There is a fascinating account of St Bartholomew’s Church, Yealmpton recorded on a visit there on 29 January 1853 by the ecclesiologist, Sir Stephen Glynne, as follows:
YEALMPTON – St Bartholomew
29 January 1853
This Church retains little of its original character, the whole excepting the tower, having been reconstructed and rearranged in a manner far more sumptuous than the former character of the edifice.
The present arrangement is cruciform, with aisles to the nave and a chapel to the north of the chancel, with the original tower at the west end, which is small and plain, rather out of character with the present handsome body.
The tower is very rude and not unlike that of Bere Ferrers, tapering and embattled, but without either string or buttress and with small slit openings those of the belfry alone being double.
There is a west window and door and it opens to the nave by a pointed arch upon octagonal shafts.
The whole of the walls of the church appear to be new, as well as the roof, and are probably loftier than the former ones, and the whole of the new work is of Decorated character.
The windows chiefly of three lights, the eastern of five. The roof has a ridge crest. The nave and aisles have separate roofs, with timbers open internally. In the chancel the roof is ribbed and coloured in the sacrarium of rich blue and gold.
The nave arches are singular, there are four arches on each side, having the outer member of polished black marble, the piers octagonal having variegated courses of polished marble and stone, and capitals of ball-flower. The use of polished marble throughout the interior of this Church is a novel and striking feature.
The font is wholly of this material, the bowl octagonal, upon a central octagonal stem, and eight shafts surrounds it.
The nave is fitted with open low benches of oak. The chancel arch has a course of marble as the others, and springs from columns of the same material, across it is a low screen on a fence of marble with battlements.
The chancel is stalled and occupied by the choir. A very large organ is placed in the chapel to the north of the chancel connected with the vestry. The sacrarium is very finely inlaid with marble. The credence on the north is of marble, on the south are two plain Early English ascending sedilia, preserved from the old church with central pier, and a double piscina of the same date, beneath a general arch with quatrefoil in the head, and marble course added. There is also some marble inlaid work just under the roof with the courses and over the windows of the chancel.
In the north chapel is a brass AD 1508 with figure of a knight to John Croker. In the vestry an ancient chest and double embridge. In north transept under the window an ogee sepulchral arch. In south transept a brass plate in memory of parents of E. P. Bastard, the restorer of the church.
6 Bells. South Porch has stone groining.
Taken from Sir Stephen Glynne’s notes on the churches of Devon, (Notes & Queries, No 5., 1932)
© Graham Naylor