In 1760 when malaria, also known as ague, was common in Britain a Dr. Watson recommended a Tegenaria sp. "gently bruised and wrapped up in a raisin or spread upon bread and butter" as a cure !
In France Tegenaria sp. are released into wine cellars as the presence of their webs is though to create feeling of age.
Tegenaria parietina, the Cardinal spider
The spider on the left is a mature female Tegenaria sp., as her body was at
least 2 cm I would guess that she is Tegenaria parietina. She had
made her web inside a metal shed, and when I found her had grown too big to
escape from the shed. She seemed quite happy living off a steady diet of
insects though. Normal body length is 11 - 20 mm for females. The egg sac is white, and usually located in her tubular retreat.
This species is not found in Wales or Scotland.
It got its common name of the Cardinal spider as those in Hampton Court used to terrify Cardinal Wolsey!
In 1936 a policeman on point duty on Lambeth Bridge in London held up traffic to allow a particularly large Tegenaria parietina to cross the road.
The photographs on the right show a mature male Tegenaria duellica. Their body length is 10 - 14 mm long, and is slimmer than the females, although their legs are longer. They are fairly widespread in Britain, and are found indoors, in outbuildings or sheltered walls in the north, but can survive outdoors in the south.
Males mature in the late summer and autumn, and it is this time that you are most likely to find one wandering around your house. He is just looking for a mate.