"H.H." as he was popularly known, was born in Pearston in the Eastern Province and educated at Rugby school, England, before proceeding to Oxford where he read law and where he also obtained his "blue" in 1886 and 1887. Returning to South Africa he practised as a lawyer and later became secretary to the Rhodesian Government. He married Mary Jane Little, whose brother E. M. M. Little also played in the first ever test match played in South Africa. The venue was the Port Elizabeth cricket ground and. The date 30th July, 1891 - a Thursday!
"H.H." captained the side that day, stepping into our history books as South Africa's first ever rugby captain.
An all-round sportsman, in 1894 "H.H." captained the first ever Springbok cricket team to tour Britain and Ireland. They were the first South African team to play at Lord's where they played against-and beat-a team captained by none other than the redoubtable W. G. Grace.
Herbert not only played for Villagers but later coached them in conjunction with the Diocesan College. Of his coaching, Sir Clarkson Tredgold, who was often on circuit with him, and who later became President of the Rhodesian Rugby Union, said, "He regarded rugby as a game of science with tenets essential to study closely." Mr A. F. Markotter, later the doyen of coaches in South Africa, maintained that when "H.H." and Alf Richards (S.A.'s third captain) coached a team, their opponents could expect trouble.
His brother, G. Emile Castens, also played against the touring side when he represented Port Elizabeth and Eastern Province. Oddly enough the referee in both matches was Herbert Hayton Castens!
"H.H.", who earned distinction as a double Springbok captain, passed away in London on 18th October, 1929.