From Fishermen to Middlemen Timelines: All, Georgian (1714 - 1837)


By the time of Defoe’s account, deep sea fishing was already in decline, American enterprise, piracy and conflicts all having taken their toll. Bideford’s shipmasters ceased fishing themselves and became middlemen, providing transport of prepared fish, much of which ended up in the Mediterranean, from whence the ships could return with spices, wine, and dried fruit. The changing pattern of business also saw shipbuilding become more prominent as a local industry, as merchants sought to expand their fleets.