BIRSTAL, a chapelry, in the parish of Belgrave, union of Barrow-Upon-Soar, hundred of West Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Leicester; containing 438 inhabitants. This chapelry is bounded on the east by the river Soar, and comprises 1128 acres of arable and pasture land, of which the soil is generally light, and the substrata are sand, marl, and blue clay. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of hosiery, connected with the trade of Leicester. At the time of the inclosure of waste lands, 165 acres were allotted to the impropriate rectory in lieu of tithes, from which, with the exception of about 100 acres, the whole of the chapelry is exempt. The chapel, dedicated to St. James, was in 1823 severely damaged by lightning, which injured the steeple and part of the nave; and by consent of the ordinary and the archdeacon the steeple was not restored, on condition of enlarging the north side of the chapel, which was done, and the whole of the nave rebuilt, at an expense of £600.