Imagine having to dress in a full suit of armour, complete with sword, to go to work every day… Well, that’s exactly how Jay McCabe (or ‘Sir Jay’) starts his daily routine, as a professional knight at Warwick Castle! Is it hard to stay in medieval character? And what’s it like to challenge your colleagues to a duel? Let’s find out!
Describe your job in five words!
Hard work but great fun.
What does your job involve?
Being a knight is really varied. When I’m wearing my armour, you can find me doing all sorts of different things – first and foremost I get to duel with my fellow knights for the entertainment of our guests, but you’ll also find me running educational workshops and team building with groups of adults, which involves archery and sword fighting. In the evening, I host banquets and gala dinners as a knight, and can even be a master of ceremonies at weddings!
Is it hard to get into character as a knight every day?
The armour certainly helps! After eight years of doing this every day it’s become a lot easier and the lines blur a little – ‘Sir Jay’ and ‘regular Jay’ are more alike now than they were in the beginning!
Do you ever slip up and forget to act as a knight when you’re in costume?
Very occasionally yes, although it depends on who I’m speaking to. Children are always so in awe that it’s easy to keep in character, but some adults can take a bit more work.
How did you become a knight at Warwick Castle?
It was a long journey, but I got there. I studied performance art at university, and then spent a long time working at different places before starting at Warwick Castle. My first job at the castle was to teach people to shoot a longbow, and after a while I made my way up the ranks from a peasant archer to a knight.
If this wasn’t your job, what else would you be doing?
That’s really tough… It would have to be something hands-on that kept me challenged. I always wanted to be a police officer or firefighter, so maybe one of those.
What advice do you have for someone who dreams of doing the same job as you?
You have to go for it! It’s hard work, and a lot of pushing yourself to do more and get more work, but if you keep trying and keep working you can get there!
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
There are many cool aspects of my job, though walking into Warwick Castle where there’s so much history, dressing in my armour and selecting which weapon to take with me for the day is probably the best bit. It provides a glimpse of how life was for knights over 600 years ago!
Discover more medieval fun for budding knights with our Sticker World – Castle book!