The spider above is a mature female Cardinal spider, 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 in the Loire in France, and when I found her had grown too big to escape from the shed when the door was shut. She seemed quite happy living off a steady diet of insects though. And as this species can go for a year without food, living inside a normally closed shed should be no problem. 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 above and below show a mature male Tegenaria duellica/gigantea, and below that a mature female. Male body length is 10 - 14 mm long, and is slimmer than the females (11 mm - 16mm), 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.
The female Tegenaria gigantea below was found in the empty space above the compost in a bin that had been undisturbed for months. The scale bar she is sitting on is in 0.1cm. I put her back after photographing her.
Above is a mature Tegenaria atrica female. Fully grown females have a body length of 11 - 16 mm, and males 10 - 14 mm.
They are found in a variety of habitats, and are fairly widespread in northern Europe. This one was found when I was emptying my compost bin.
The web is a sheet with a tubular retreat. Webs in undisturbed locations are usually much larger than those in the open. She often camouflages her egg sac by sticking debris to it.
Tetrix denticulata, above, lives in dry habitats. It is commonly found around stones, in dry stone walls or low bushes. The one above was in a south facing dry stone wall. and the small one below was distrubed when I moved the plant pot saucer it was hiding under. It can also be found indoors. It is widespread in Northern Europe.
The males and females are of similar size with a body length of 6 - 8 mm. The female can be found year round. Courtship is usually in May. In the photograph below you can make out the upsidedown U on its abdomen.