In 1904 the parish of Cotmanhay Ilkeston Derbyshire had a font made for use in their church where it remained until 1988 when the church was demolished. Late 1986 Ernie Brand (one of the original members of our parish) wrote to the Assistant Bishop of Derby inquiring about obtaining a stone font for St Simon’s and was told about this font and that the Diocese of Derby was looking for a home for it. St Simon’s received the font as a gift from the Diocese of Derby on the understanding that our parish paid the cost of freight. It was installed and used for the first time at St Simon’s on 20 August 1989.
The stone used in the making of this font comes from the Derbyshire Dales in England. It is known as Hopton Wood Limestone after the quarry where it came from, but generally called Via Gellia Limestone by geologists. The stone was laid down 345 million years ago during the Carboniferous period and is mainly crinoidal but closer inspection reveals the presence of brachiopods.
The variation in the colour of the stone is due to the use of stone from the upper and lower beds in the quarry. During the 19th Century the stone was quarried and used in major building projects such as the Victorian and Albert Museum in London.