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She was born Esther Elizabeth Bliss on 18 October 1847 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, the third child and second daughter of William Bliss (1810–1883), a cloth manufacturer in the town, and his wife, Esther Cleaver (1808–1882), the daughter of Robert Cleaver of Saffron Walden, Essex.
In 1892, Dorothea Beale, the principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College, offered Burrows the post of principal of St Hilda's, a college for women which she was starting in Oxford. She held the post until she retired in 1910.
On 8 September 1870, in Chipping Norton, she married Henry Parker Burrows (1833-1871), a partner in a Maidenhead firm of wine merchants and brewers, and they had a daughter.
Burrows died on 20 February 1935 at her home, 47 Woodstock Road, Oxford, following a stroke, and was buried at St Luke's, Maidenhead.
- "Burrows [née Bliss], Esther Elizabeth (1847–1935)". ODNB. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- "BURROWS (née BLISS), Esther Elizabeth | The Badsey Society". Badseysociety.uk. 1915-03-18. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- "St Anne's College, Oxford > About the College > Christine Burrows (1921-29)". St-annes.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
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