CK3: Top 5 Best Duchies in England

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Securing a powerful demesne for your dynasty in a CKIII campaign is always a top priority. Regardless of your goals and ambitions in a campaign, you should prioritize consolidating a couple duchies for you and your heirs to build up.

Full control of two mid-sized duchies is the absolute best setup you can have.

Why is that? Well, you get a harsh opinion malus with your vassals for holding more than two ducal titles. You also get a hefty malus when controlling land in a duchy held by one of your vassals.

Taking those into account, one large duchy (6-9 counties large) can also work, but two of them provide you access to two duchy buildings instead of one.

So let’s find out what are the best duchies you can personally hold while ruling the Kingdom of England.


5. Wessex

Wessex / Crusader Kings III

The duchy of Wessex consists of 4 counties, all with coastal access allowing for the tradeport line of buildings.

With 14 holdings slots, many of them already built up in both 867 and 1066, Wessex has an above average amount of holdings per county. In fact, the Isle of Wight has only a single holding, while the others have more than four each.

What this means is that you can keep the isle under a vassal while holding the others. This can work wonders for you while your domain limit is still low!

Although no special buildings in any of the counties make it a less appealing choice than the rest of the list.


4. Hwicce

Hwicce / CK3

Potentially unpronounceable to modern-English speakers, the duchy of Hwicce gets fourth place on the list largely because of the unique building in the county of Wiltshire.

With an average amount of holdings spread among four counties, only one of which is coastal, the duchy is nothing extraordinary.

Also, the name is fine. Just call it Gloucester if you need to pronounce it. Seriously, no one will judge you.

However, its saving grace is the unique special building in it: the famous Stonehenge.

With its boost on learning lifestyle and learning attribute, the county of Wiltshire is always a contender for being a part of your personal domain. Well, why not the whole duchy in that case?

Bear in mind it’s always possible to not create the duchy at all and hold the county yourself. However, this can create problems with your vassals if the surrounding area isn’t monitored constantly.


3. Kent

Kent / Crusader Kings III

The duchy of Kent gets its spot in the top 3 mainly due to the unique building it possesses. This is of course the cathedral of Canterbury, a Catholic holy site in-game.

With 12 holding slots spread among only 3 counties, you can easily secure the duchy for yourself while still having the capacity to control another one. Furthermore, two out of the three counties are coastal and feature plains and forests, making them ideal for making money.

The unique building is sadly indirectly controlled by you if playing as a Catholic. Your realm priest will control it, and you will need as high of an opinion as possible with him to reap the full benefits.


2. Essex

Essex / CK3

The realm of the eastern Saxons, East Seaxe or Essex in contemporary English couldn’t be absent from this list.

Numbering 19 holding slots among 5 counties and featuring farmlands, plains, and forests, it makes for an excellent place to build up and make a lot of money. Two of the counties are also coastal, allowing for the tradeport line of buildings!

On top of that, the county of Middlesex, where London is located, has a special building slot. A building that you will have to construct yourself: the Tower of London.

Its bonuses are not anything game breaking, but I can assure you that it will make besieging the settlement a nightmare for your enemies.

This in turn allows you to build only economic buildings in the county of Middlesex while still ensuring a massive defense against sieging armies.


1. York

York / Crusader Kings III

Well folks, the Vikings had it right all along it seems!

First place goes to none other duchy than that of York.

Jorvik if you’re a Viking or Deira if Anglo-Saxon.

Unlike the War of the Roses, here there’s no competition between York and Lancaster. York effortlessly gets the victory.

With a whopping 19 holdings spread among only 4 counties, the duchy provides insane value to you as a player. It can easily be paired with another duchy from very early on, as it consumes very little of your domain limit.

On top of that, all counties but one are coastal. And many of the holding slots already built up.

York is also a holy site for rulers following the Ásatrú faith, giving you access to a special religious building.

Playing in the British Isles, you should always aim for the duchy of York as a part of your domain. Even if you keep your capital outside of it for roleplaying purposes, make sure your player heir always inherits York.

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G. Tsechilidis

Born and raised Greek citizen. His love of history, geography, and all things map-related, are certainly a contrast to his pursuit of a master in civil engineering. An avid gamer from a very young age, he found the perfect match in Grand Strategy Games. If not for a good chess match or a round of carambole billiards, you'll certainly catch him firing up EU4 or a Total War game to spend the evening.