|F de P. Castells c. 1912|
|Signature of F. de P. Castells|
Erik Enrique Lund
(1850 - 1935)
IN THE PHILIPPINES WITH MANRIQUE ALONSO LALLAVE
|Cover of the translation of the Gospel|
according to Luke by
Manrique Alonso Lallave.
|Hotel de Oriente, Manila, 1890.|
|Centre of Manila (Calle de la Escolta) in 1900.|
|Manrique Alonso Lallave|
(1839 - 1889)
|Dominican friars with Philippino natives, c. 1885.|
SINGAPORE AND FRENCH COCHINCHINA
We ignore why Mary was in Singapore in 1889, when Francis de Paula arrived. The most accepted theory (and the most sensible) is that she was accompanying his father, who must have been posted there.
On the 7th September 1892 their first son was born: Francis Theodore Castells (Singapore, 7th September 1892 -Regents Park Road, Finchley, 18th December 1956).
Castells was received by the French Consul, who allowed him to enter French Cochinchina. The French were grateful for the way he took care of their ill soldiers, and thanks to this good relationship with the French government, in 1892 Castells became the Sub-agent of the Bible Society in Cochinchina, where he sold some 3000 Bibles, mainly in Chinese and French. Due to health problems he had to return to England.
|F. de P. Castells spent most of 1893 in England, before setting off for Central America|
THE FIVE CENTRAL REPUBLICS
Unnoticed in the gay throngs were some five hundred work men, Indians of the down-trodden aborigines of the interior. Senor Castells visited them at their meal-time; they listened willingly to the parables of Our Lord, which he read from the Spanish Bible; those who knew Spanish translated for their comrades, and for whole days they talked of little else but the New Testament stories. The race in Guatemala numbered over 880,000, steeped for the most part in ancient heathenism; Spanish they refused to learn; the influence of the Church of Rome scarcely touched them. Cakchiquel, the commonest of their tongues, was also spoken to some extent in Honduras and Salvador; and Castells set himself to master it, for the purpose of translating the Gospel of St Mark. It turned out, however, to be but a dialect of the widespread Quiche stock; and while continuing his own task, he was able to engage on another version of the Gospel the best Quiche scholar in the country, Don Felipe Silva, who had spent his life as a Government official among the aborigines.Meanwhile Mark in Carib, translated by the Rev. J. F. Laughton of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, had been published at the request of Dr. Ormsby, the Bishop of Honduras, and Senor Castells set out on a tour of 1000 miles 225 on foot, 150 by train, 200 by steamer, 370 in canoe and sailing boat, 100 on horseback to make it known among the Carib settlements. At the sound of the native sea-shell and the cry of "Uganubinditi!" ("The good news!") the people flocked together. They listened and bought readily, and their visitor soon "came to be known as the Good-news Man." It was just a hundred years since the last remnant of the warlike Carib nation had been deported from St Vincent by the British. From Ruatan Island they had spread along the shores of Honduras and up the rivers; still a separate race, preserving the dark superstitions, the devil-worship, and (it was believed with good reason) the cannibal sacrifices of their ancestors. The Good News touched their heathen hearts. An appeal for more books came from inland settlements, and the Queen of the Caribs herself applied to the United States consul. Another edition was printed, and in 1901 the Gospel of St John was issued in all, 2538 copies.
Auxiliary of Saint John, Guatemala, where F. de P. Castells performed as Curate in 1903.
F. de P. Castells remained in Central America until 1903. During their stay in Guatemala his second son was born, Edmund Castells (Guatemala, 9th May 1895 – Alicante, Spain, 28th January 1981). In 1901 F. de P. Castells was ordained Deacon and in 1903 Priest.
|Holy Trinity Church in Brompton (Kent).|
|King’s College, London, in 1928, such as F. de P. Castells knew it.|
From 1907 until 1912 he performs as Curate in Christ’s Church (Bexleyheath), though in 1911 he seems to be posted in a parish in Saint Pancras.
|Christ Church in Bexleyheath, at the beginning of the 20th century, where F. de P. Castells was posted as Curate. (Courtesy of Bexley Borough Archives).|
|(Courtesy of Bexley Borough Archives)|
|F. de P. Castells c. 1910 (Courtesy of Bexley Borough Archives)|
On 19th October 1909 F. de P. Castells becomes British citizen.
|Naturalization Act of F. de P. Castells.|
|River Hospitals, Dartford, c. 1900.|
|Chapel at Joyce Green Hospital, where F. de P. Castells used to officiate.|
|Click on the image to open the website|
The History of the Chaplaincy Services
|Inside and outside views of the smallpox ships.|
|Child with smallpox|
|High Street, Dartford (c.1911)|
|Miskin Road, Dartford. From 1912 the Castells lived in number 42.|
F. DE P. CASTELLS' MASONIC LIFE
|Register of F. de P. Castells' affilitation to North Kent Lodge no. 2499 in the books of the United Grand Lodge of England.|
|Register of F. de P.Castells' affilitation to Lullingstone Lodge no. 2499 in the books of the United Grand Lodge of England.|
|Crockford's Clerical Directory 1932.|
|Crockford's Clerical Directory 1908.|
His wife Mary passed away on August the 18th August 1947 in Hendon, Middlesex, London.
|Entry in the Testamentary Record of F. de P. Castells.|
|Record of the burial of F. de P. Castells (right middle), on the 2nd January 1935.|
|Record of the decoration awarded to Francis Thedorore Castells.|
|Record of the decoration awarded to Edmund Castells.|
With a high heart Castells set out for the Quiche hill-country in the west. He had been warned of the dangers of such a journey. All his Indian projects indeed had been sharply criticised. The tribes were declared too brutish to understand Christianity ; their wretched jargon did not admit of Bible translation. The Committee and their representative were visionaries. Even missionaries were slow to acknowledge the claims of these poor aborigines. Yet in these hopeless regions the Good-news Man and his books were welcomed gladly. In less than four months the whole edition was exhausted. A second edition, 5000 copies, was printed in Costa Rica in 1899. In the following year the first missionary settled among the Quiches, and found his way wonderfully prepared for him. In 1902 a third edition appeared at Belize. Luke and John in Maya had been printed in the sixties for the Wesleyan missionaries in Yucatan. The veteran translator, the Rev. Richard Fletcher, was still alive at Hull, and saw the Gospels of Matthew and Mark through the press in 1900. Once again experience proved that the language in which the Word of God could not be spoken to His children was yet to be discovered.
The headquarters of the agency were removed to Belize in 1901, and in October that year Mr. William Keech joined Senor Castells as sub-agent in the wide field, which was rapidly "whitening" for the missionary. On the termination of the war between Mexico and the Maya Indians, work began in Yucatan, and the Bible shared with Roman Catholic books of devotion the privilege of import duty-free. Little was possible during the struggle of Panama to break away from Colombia and the Spanish friars, who had flocked thither with their treasure from the Philippines; but peace threw open, and the coup d’etat which achieved independence secured a new province for colportage.
In what out-of-the-way nooks one came upon traces of the effect of the work! Towards nightfall Castells found himself at Sabaneta, a poor mountain hamlet in Guatemala. As he sat at supper he heard the rude music of the Indian marimba and sounds of rejoicing. It was the Noche Buena, explained the innkeeper, "the Good Night," Christmas Eve; there was no priest for twenty miles round, and the people were celebrating the Divine Birth as it was first celebrated by St Francis. The floor of the largest house was strewn with sprays of pine, the walls were hung with flowers, and in a circle of lighted candles clay figures represented the scene at Bethlehem. Castells proposed to read the very story of the Nativity. While he read he saw with surprise seven or eight persons with Gospels or Testaments following him verse by verse. A strange man had brought the books to these mountains a little time ago, and the passages he had just read had been read a few minutes before by one of their own number.
In the last seven years of the period 5000 Gospels had been sold to the Indians alone, and had been paid for in eggs, starch, cocoa beans, logwood, and other oddments. Arrangements were in progress for another edition of the Aztec Luke, published seventy years before ; and the Gospel of St John in Bribri was about to be printed for the Talamanca Indians in Costa Rica. More than this, Senor Castells had taught two blind Spaniards to read the Scriptures the first blind men, it is said, ever taught to read in Central America, and they were teaching others.
The agency received every encouragement from the Republican Governments. Free postage, free freight, passes or reduced fares by rail or water considerably relieved the burden on the funds of the Society. The British, American and Spanish consuls were unfailing in good offices. Co-operation was heartily given by twenty-five voluntary helpers, most of them connected with the six different missions at work in Central America. The Auxiliary at Belize flourished under the presidency of the Governor of Honduras, and in the Centenary Year Bishop Ormsby accepted office as Vice- President of the Society. The American Bible Society was also in the field, and a friendly understanding provided against overlapping. Finally, in 1903, Senor Castells and Mr. Stark, the agent of the Andean Republics, met in Panama, and linked up the New World system of the Society from Bermuda to Patagonia.