Anston was already established as a settlement by the time of the Domesday Book (1086), when North and South Anston (Anestan and Litelanstan) were under the ownership of Roger de Bully. The name Anston is thought to derive from "an stan" (a stone) as opposed to anything based on the suffix -ton, and there is much evidence of quarrying in the area. Anston, and neighbouring Dinnington make up a 3.5 km strip of urban development stranded amidst a sea of agricultural land, and its presence and growth owe much to quarrying. The original interest for the area (beyond Anston's agricultural uses) was the sandy "Anstone" magnesian limestone, but the real growth in Anston's population was more due to the sinking of the Dinnington Colliery in the early 20th century.
North Anston is located at about 53° 21' 20" N, 1° 13' W, and merges seamlessly into the town of Dinnington to the north. Today it is largely a commuter base for Sheffield, Worksop and Rotherham, and is mainly made up of sub-urban housing estates. The picturesque "old village" at the south-east however retains its green, and the village wells. The surrounding landscape contains several disused quarries: the plantations to the east, and Greenlands Park to the west being prime examples.
North Anston is home to a tropical butterfly house, and also the limestone gorge of Anston Stones Wood - a site of Special Scientific Interest.
South Anston is located at about 53° 21' 50" N, 1° 13' 20" W, and is separated from North Anston by the Anston Brook, the A57, and a freight railway-line. It is far more rural than its northern partner, though still has its fair share of suburban sprawl. South Anston contains the parish church of St. James, and two methodist chapels (dating from 1871 and 1935). It also contains Anston's working quarries which continue to mine stone for the building industry.