Wealthy merchants operating from Bideford Quay were involved in the slave trade. 

Wealthy Bideford residents made investments in the notorious triangular slave trade. This included the Parminter family, who originally came from Bideford in North Devon, where they were merchants. 

John Parminter helped finance a slave ship called Elizabeth. Elizabeth sailed from Bristol to (Old) Calabar, a major slave-trading depot, on the coastline of the Gulf of Guinea (in present-day Nigeria) in 1700. The Parminters also had connections by marriage with the Rolle, Walrond and Baring families, all of which were involved with slave-ownership. 

There is evidence in many local parish records that merchants would also have brought black servants to live in Britain.